Have Hope; The Best Is Yet To Be

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Hope is never in short supply though we sometimes turn our faces from its light and stare into the darkness. This looking away invites gloom to our table. Fear and discouragement creep in as unwanted guests. But even so, there still remains a flicker of hope which cannot be extinguished. When we reawaken to its presence, the shadows of uncertainty will always withdraw.

Hope transforms every aspect of life because it is the essence of faith. Times of trouble will come and go. But those who carry the torch of faith and hope will light the path of recovery and healing guiding us to the place where love does not have to be proven. These beacon carriers are angels among us. They come in every size, shape, and color asking only that we open our hearts to join their quest of freedom from doubt.

For me, and for the clients I serve, doubt has proven to be the antithesis of hope. It is a faith killer for those who suffer with addictions and from childhood trauma. Doubt informs us that nothing will bring relief. Nobody will be able to help. It says that we will always be alone.

"Hope is not an idle, misty, sympathetic emotion. It is a faith-filled response to life." ~ Robert K. Jones

Even when sword rattling is deafening and all seems to be lost, we must choose to respond to life with hope believing that the best is yet to be. And we know this belief to be true because the outcomes are not relegated to darkness. They are in the hands of a loving God.

Embracing Faith; The Mystical, Magical Flight of Christmas

“I love the recklessness of faith. First you leap, and then you grow wings.” ~ William Sloane Coffin

One of the magical messages of Christmas which we are asked to explore during Advent is that faith, like love, is here regardless of our willingness to recognize it. We don’t have to trust this...and we don’t even have to believe it.  In fact, we don’t have to do anything.  Faith is just there regardless of our acceptance. 

Words of the poet Rilke sweep over me and fill me with wonder when he says that in faith “there is a strength and a blessing so large that you can travel as far as you wish without having to step outside it.” 

The mystical wisdom of Jesus who compares faith to a mustard seed boggles my mind.  The tiniest little seed was planted in each of us.  And it has the capacity to move mountains.  How could it be that our faith which seems so fleeting and fragile is so ever-present and strong?  Perhaps because it never really leaves us.

Our always-possessed faith whispers the truth to us that darkness can never endure.  It proves over and over that good will overcome evil.  It brings love forward and casts hatred aside.  It dispels worry and asks us to simply do the-next-right-thing.  We are not meant to understand faith.  This isn't necessary and perhaps not even possible. Just take the leap.  Your wings will appear and provide a magnificent flight. Everything will be okay.

Have Some Faith; A Message of the Christmas Season

I know you want to question everything, but sometimes it pays to just have a little faith.”

Lauren Kate

Our senses are bombarded with stories of conversions and restoration of faith during Advent and Christmastime. 

The tales have been woven into the fabric of our culture beginning on Thanksgiving with “The Miracle on 34th Street” and continue to infuse us for the next days and weeks until The Wonderful finally arrives on Christmas Day. Most all of us have seen these movies dozens of times. 

Yet, the hard-hearted becoming soft and compassionate, the miser becoming generous, and the troubled being saved, always seem to find a way of evoking sentimental feelings.  The reason is, of course, that this is the heart of our Christmas experience.  We are all hoping that we will be better people and that the world will become a kinder place.

The 2nd Sunday of Advent symbolizes Faith. One of the stories that always moves me is that of Saint Therese of France who had an incredible awakening in 1886 at age 14.  A simple thing had happened.  She had reached an age when the Christmas tradition of leaving her shoes by the fireplace in anticipation of presents was at an end. 

She completed the ritual with her parents after which she heard her father exclaim that he was thankful they would never have to do it again.  She began weeping, but the sadness was replaced by an incredible ‘white-light’ experience in which she was given a message of conversion by God.  The rest of her life became a testimony of Christmas which brought major changes to the Catholic Church. 

Christmas conversion and resilience of faithresonates deeply because, as Saint Therese shows us, the grace of God is alwaysat work.  It is the lesson at the heartof The Wonderful.  In the ordinary, warmearthiness of a stable God is born and new life comes to the earth.

The Coming of Spring

Though some cold, snow and ice may show up in the next few days and weeks, the end of their reign is done.  Only a few months ago we welcomed the first falling flakes in anticipation of holidays with gatherings of friends and family.  Then, after being homebound, scooping too many driveways, being stuck at the side of the road, we moaned at the thought of more winter.  When would it ever end!?  Well, now is the time.