Advent Spiritual Life Suggestions: Week Three

IMG_2401“Hope” is our focus for this third week on Advent. Faith (or trust), hope and love are known as the three theological virtues. That title can scare one off; it simply means that they aren’t “natural” virtues like patience or wisdom, but instead relate specifically to living in relation with God.

Hope is the virtue that characterizes the Christian’s stance towards the future. We watch or listen to the news and everything seems very bleak. Perhaps our own personal lives are also shadowed by darkness of one sort or another. It’s easy to give in to despair, which is the opposite of hope. But the story of God’s people as it unfolds in the Bible is one founded always on hope. Abraham leaves his home and journeys to a land of promise based on hope. Israel awaits its Messiah, living in hope. And we can think of the millions who lived in hope through the dark decades of repression behind the Iron Curtain, never letting go of the hope that their day of freedom would come.

What do you hope for? For the future of the world; for your own future and that of your family? This is a time, in your prayer and reflection, to focus on what you hope for. Where do you need to rekindle hope? One of the best ways to become a more hopeful person is to begin to celebrate small occasions of joy: the beauty of the world dusted with our first snow, a meal shared with a friend, a word of thanks or praise, that rare bit of news that actually shows people working together for good or something wonderful happening where the future seemed dark. Some of us fall into a habit of complaint and depression. Countering it with deliberate celebrations of little joys can be a step towards a greater sense of hope.

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