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Thursday, December 3, 2015


Last Thursday (Thanksgiving Day) was the unofficial beginning of the “holiday season.”  Over the next six weeks or so there will be many parties, dinners, musical programs, family gatherings, and public celebrations.

In the midst of the holiday season we Christians observe Advent, four weeks before Christmas that remind us of the fullness of our human experience.  One way we do this is by centering on four words (one for each week): Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love.  Hope comes first because without hope we can't experience the others. Unfortunately for many people the word "hope" has become confused with "wish."

Here's how I see the difference. On the one hand, to wish is to have a strong desire for something to occur that has an equal, if not strong, probability of not happening. Hope, on the other hand, is a state of mind, an attitude or perspective of assurance that the world is as we expect it to be.  One could even say that wish is a verb - something we do, while hope is a noun - something we have.

In a theological, spiritual sense Hope is the assurance that Divine Goodness (meaning wholeness and fullness) is at the foundation and core of Creation.  At first glance, in light of all the pain and suffering in the world, this may seem rather glib or pollyannaish.  And, if we think in terms of "hope" as "wish" it is.  However, coming to a place and perspective that within each and every person and all of creation there is a Divine Spark (however dim or bright it may be) we begin to sense the essence of true Hope.  Wishing comes and goes.  Hope stays.

Advent is a season to reclaim Divine Hope in our lives.

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