“Advent is the time of hope, not wishes. Christians truly believe that Jesus is working through our work to bring about liberation and allow us to live in dignity and peace. And we do not wait idly, we wait expectantly, and we continue the struggle in the meantime.”–“The Holy Margins” by Julie Myers, CPT
Advent is a time of hope, not wishes. Julie writes her reflection from Christian Peacemaker Team’s (CPT) Colombia home, recalling the continuing work of the people of Colombia to reclaim their land and their dignity, at great personal risk.
I cannot imagine a better understanding of this thing we call hope: keen desire mixed with fervent effort.
Hope is not fatalism, simply awaiting what will come. Nor is hope, as Julie points out, merely wish or desire, for blended in with the desire of hope is the expectation of it.
Hope is reality working against the odds.
So today, during this week of hope during the Advent season, I ask myself: for what do I hope?
I live in such plenty that it is often difficult to experience any sense of lack or desire. It is often as if all my desires have been met.
But this is the lure and the lie of material comfort: the mirage that all is well and nothing is left to be desired.
For what do I hope?
Big things like world peace . . . plenty of food on every table . . . reconciliation among and between us all . . . shelter for every head . . . creation cherished . . . children safe and loved . . .
But those things are more like wishes than hopes.
I hope, I desire fervently, I work for, I expect . . .
that someone’s Thanksgiving was a little brighter, a little less lonely, a little more fed, because my community gave of itself food for the table . . .
that a few children will have a happier Christmas and will find hope for themselves because someone brought them some toys and tokens to show that they matter and there are people who care . . .
that mine will be a reconciling voice at the table of family and friends . . .
that the generations in my family will flourish, knowing they rest upon a foundation of love and care from the generations before them . . .
These are my hopes . . . my desires . . . the things I work for and fervently desire . . .
I wonder . . . what are your hopes?