Advent 1 – hope

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I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits,
and in his word I put my hope.
I wait for the Lord
more than watchmen wait for the morning,
more than watchmen wait for the morning.

 Israel, put your hope in the Lord,
for with the Lord is unfailing love
and with him is full redemption.
He himself will redeem Israel
from all their sins.

from Psalm 130

In this first week of Advent as we focus on the theme of Hope, I wonder what hope means for you? Is hope like making a wish on an evening star or a wish before blowing out candles on a birthday cake? Is it being an “upbeat” person — always looking for a silver lining — believing the best will happen? Or could it be the same as grace – or faith?

In her book Mystical Hope, Cynthia Bourgeault writes that the “journey to hope… is something that will change your innermost way of seeing.” She continues, “In our usual way of looking at things, hope is tied to outcome. We normally think of hope as having an optimistic feeling.”

Instead, Bourgeault believes that “hope has something to do with presence — not a future good outcome but the immediate experience of being met, held in communion, by something intimately at hand.”

I am drawn to contemplate hope like Bourgeault, as “an abiding state of being… a call to become a vessel, to become a chalice into which divine energy can pour; a lamp through which it can shine.”

Our practice of waiting in Advent is very close to this “abiding state of being” as we wait for the coming light, even when days are short, dark, and cold. We might consider how Mary’s abiding hope helped her receive the promise of the Holy One within her: how she became a “vessel, a chalice, a lamp.”

How might you embrace Hope this Advent season?  How might you hold the promise of the coming Christ within you this Advent season?

As we consider becoming people of Hope, here are a few of my favorite quotes on hope:

I heard a preacher say that hope is a revolutionary practice . . . hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: you don’t give up. . .

~ Anne Lamott


12988817915_a51e7d1b9e_mHope is what sits by a window and waits for one more dawn, despite the fact that there is not one ounce of proof in tonight’s black, black sky that it can possibly come.

~ by Joan Chittister



Hope is a state of mind, not of the world. Either we have hope within or we don’t; it is a dimension of the soul not essentially dependent on some particular observation of the world or estimate of the situation. It is an orientation of the spirit, an orientation of the heart; it transcends the world that is immediately experienced and is anchored somewhere beyond its horizons.

~ Vaclav Havel in “Share International” #3, Vol. 25

For me, at Advent, my hope is in God who wants to be with us — Emmanuel. Enough to become incarnate, to take on flesh, to be born in humble circumstance. To be one of us, one with us. We keep vigil – a patient waiting – for the completion of our deepest desire rooted in God’s desire. We practice hope in our every day lives, moment by moment. We share hope with others. We wait together for the light to come.

The hope is for fullness, for completion,

for being one with each other . . .

Our entire lives are a vigil, a keeping watch,

for the fulfillment of this hope.

~ Wendy Wright

“Waiting in Silence (Waiting in Hope)” by Carey Landry

video by Diocese of St. Benedict, Old Catholic Missionaries


4 thoughts on “Advent 1 – hope

  1. sandygracecorby

    Donna, i was very drawn to the question “what does hope mean to you”? I really couldn’t say right now. Its a word I use and hear frequently. Never asked myself what it means? This week i will be silent, listening and waiting on that question.
    I do know that this Christmas is beginning to be a very special and meaningful time for me. Carols I always sing at this time have a much deeper meaning.
    I heard “Joy to the ” and filled with joy as I heard ‘let every heart prepare Him room and heaven and nature sing ‘. His whole creation rocks, hills and are repeating the sounding joy!!
    “He rules the world with truth and grace and makes the nations prove, the light of His righteousness and wonders of His love. This creator has shown the world His tremendous love for the world, for me.
    Fills me joyful tears.

    1. ghlstn Post author

      Thank you Sandy for this lovely and inspiring response. We often do not stop to think what certain words mean that we use often — like hope. Advent is the perfect time to consider – what is hope to me? and then in our silence, let God’s Spirit speak to our hearts. I can feel your heart opening to the gifts of this holy season. Blessings!! ~Donna

  2. nanajo6

    Hi Donna. I am reminded of this quote from Barbara Kingsolver: “The very least you can do in your life is to figure out what you hope for . The most you can do is
    live inside that hope, running down its hallways, touching the walls on both sides.” I cherish this rich and joyful visual
    of true hope.
    Then Romans 15:13 says “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”
    That’s my blessing for you and for all who are reading.

    1. ghlstn Post author

      Jo, I love this quote from Barbara Kingsolver. I will hold it with me this Advent. And yes, the verse from Romans really says it all, doesn’t it? Imagine… “abounding in hope!” And it is a gift from God. Thanks for sharing this with our community — and me :). returning blessings to you!


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