On this final day of Advent I have been meditating on the joy of hope being restored in peoples' lives. We are on the cusp of the transition between Advent and Christmas, moving from repentance from what is out of sync with God in our own lives, fasting and praying for the disasters of our world, to the miraculous hope we have in the incarnation, celebrating the birth of Jesus and looking ahead with expectation to what he will do in our lives and in the world in the coming year.
In the past year I have been privileged to witness the hope for a safer, better life shining in the faces of incoming refugees, the thrill of hope on the faces of parents contemplating the life to come for their newborn child, the hopeful tears on the faces of newly reconciled former enemies whose walk with Christ finally led them to repent and forgive each other and to build a new and loving relationship, the hope and subsequent transformation of a life newly dedicated to following Jesus.
Just this week in my own life I have been given hope for better restoration for my broken hip. Even that small and relatively insignificant hope has made today's grey sky seem less dreary and invited me to become more motivated about planning some outings on the upcoming cold winter days.
The recent work related retreat my husband went on has restored his hope and motivation in his ministry.
New hope for his future career has motivated my son to walk in more peace and joy than he has in several years.
My parents' lives have been transformed by their recent move and they have hope for fun and friendship after being too isolated socially for too long.
Our parishioners are experiencing hope and joy as they see the congregation growing and being restored to life and liveliness.
Hope is a powerful motivator in transforming our lives. If hope deferred makes the heart sick, the restoration of hope heals the heart, eases the worries of the mind and motivates the body to action.
May 2016 turn out to be a year of restored hope for peace in the world, for the depressed to find reason for joy, for dysfunctional lives to be transformed, for anger to be changed to forgiveness, for restoration of the Church's call to the mission of bringing the message of God's hope to the whole world through Christ.