Advent II: Feel Some Hope

December 5, 2010

All of us want a great holiday this Christmas and oftentimes we go out and try to buy it or find it, or create it.  We want peace on earth, joy in our families, love in our heart.  We want it to be a great holiday filled with family and friends.  We would like it to be the most wonderful time of the year.  

All these desires arise out of the reality of their absence in our daily life, the recognition that all is not as it could be, or even should be.  The understanding that I am in need and needy and lacking in certain ways, maybe many ways. If I’m looking for a new job, its because of some dissatisfaction with my current one; if I’m looking for lots of quality family time this holiday, it could be that is exactly what’s missing in my schedule right now.  There is an absence, there’s something missing.

When we allow our past disappointments to convince us that what we’re lacking will never be fulfilled, that what we want will never happen, that’s called cynicism.  “This Christmas will be just like all the rest, a big, expensive hassle and I can’t wait till its over,” is the voice of cynicism. 

On the other side of the emotional spectrum are the wide-eyed optimists whose desires for the future keep manufacturing wishes for the future, “I wish I get everything on my wish list” is the voice of the dreamer.

The cynic is working off his disappointments and they cloud his view of the future.  The dreamer is working off his desires and they manipulate his future.  But either way, it’s not how God teaches us to approach the future. Advent is all about looking to what’s ahead, but it does so in a way that is neither cynical or dreamy. Here’s what God’s word says:

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace
as you trust in him,
so that you may overflow with hope.
Romans 15.13

Hope is different than wishing and not just the opposite of cynicism. Hope is a virtue, a supernatural virtue, because its God’s gift, on my own I don’t have it.  Hope is God’s gift of confidence in his goal for my happiness.  We all want to be happy, that is our one desire when you strip away all the desires we have for the future.  Hope is just about desiring our highest happiness, which is God.  

And it follows my own act of trust in God, that’s what St. Paul says…as I trust in God he gives me hope and when I trust him some more he gives me more hope, he’ll give me hope till its overflowing in my life if I’ll trust him that much.  

Hope is an amazing experience of joy and peace, that’s what it feels like, and its a great way to live. So why not give it a try this Advent, the season of hope?  Go ahead and trust God with some of your time and some of your money and see if you don’t, in turn, get to feel some hope.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *