Monday, November 28, 2016

Advent: Hope

The first week of Advent is focused on hope. We use this word so casually in our everyday conversations, almost interchangeably with wish, want, think, assume...but hope is something specific.

"Hope” is the desire for something that is hard to get, but believing that it will happen someday. 

We have hope that love will stay strong, that we will live a good life, that people will know they are loved and cherished.  We have hope that we will do well in school, succeed in a job we want, learn the new things we are trying to learn. We have hope that our secret wishes will come true. We want these things, they are hard to get, but we believe that we can do them.

When we want something, we just desire something.

When we wish for something, we have the desire for something nearly impossible, but we do not believe it will happen.

When we hope, we put certainty on the eventual action.

I posted this mission to my kids today, for the first day of week 1 (Hope) of Advent:
There are many things you have hoped for in life.  What have you wanted more than anything and had it come true? These things help you have hope for more things in the future. Did you hope to visit someplace? Hope to learn a new lesson? Hope to find a friend that appreciated who you are? Hope to do something that you'd always wanted to do?
Think of something you hoped for in the past that happened or something you are still hoping for.  Who in your life is helping you reach this goal?  A teacher? A friend? Your family? Who encourages you to keep trying, to believe in yourself, and to keeping having hope?  Today, do something nice for this person and say a prayer for them. Tell them thank you!
We had a nice talk at dinner tonight about hopes for our schoolwork, personal lives, jobs, and friends. We talked about the differences between hope and wishing; hope and knowing.  I even talked about the definition of trust that was recently shared with me by a researcher who studies the role of trust in social exchanges: making ourselves vulnerable with the expectation of a positive return from another.  Trust requires hope. Hope requires confidence.

Of course, translating this to the Christmas season quickly turned into hopes for various toys and candies and things.  The rest of this week is going to be focused on recognizing the hopes of others so that we can support their hopes, too.
Wishing you all a season of hope, love, joy, and peace.


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