This week we’re reading in Everyday Sacrament:
- “Parenting Toward Possibility”
- “The Spirit’s Flashes”
- “To My Children, Called in Childhood”
We hear a lot about hope during Advent. It’s a season full of hope: happy hearts looking toward the gifts and gatherings of Christmas, prayers of plenty and peace singing on the radio.
Especially at the beginning of December, when we’re not yet tired of snow or stressed by shopping, it’s easy to hum along with hope. This will be a great season. This will be the best year yet.
But hope is a hard thing, isn’t it?
Infertility taught me this in spades. We hoped month after month after month that the simple dream we wanted would be ours. But we had to keep waiting much longer than we wanted. And we learned that hope was much harder to hold than we thought.
Hope is a tough stance to take towards the world, to wake up every morning with an openness and expectation that good can come, even when all evidence points towards the contrary.
Now I think hope is something entirely different from what I knew as a child, dreaming that Santa would bring my heart’s desire under the tree on Christmas morning.
Now I think hope is crazy and prophetic and impossible and nourishing. Now I think it is the only way I can live in the world as a Christian, to hope in goodness, even though it’s also the hardest thing to do as I learn more and more about the world’s brokenness and jagged imperfection.
Hope is a humbling and hard and holy gift.
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Let’s chat over wine and chocolate – like any good book club!
- What do you hope for and from this Advent season?
I hope to find some pockets of peace this Advent. Life was such a whirlwind in November, between the good work (the book coming out!) and the hard work (the child care disappearing!). All I hope from December is to carve out quiet space and time to center myself in God’s peace.
(Ok, and I also hope we find an awesome new nanny and I finish Christmas shopping before December 24th. You know, the little things.)
- Where have you glimpsed God’s flashes of hope this week?
I’m glimpsing God’s hope in friends who are praying this month will finally bring the gift of conceiving the child they have hoped for years to welcome into their lives.
And I see God’s hope in the ways so many people I know are working hard to create a joyful Christmas for other people who are suffering deeply this year. Generous souls are hope-bearers for me.
- What are your hopes for the children in your life this Advent?
I hope my kids enjoy the expectation of Advent and our small practices of preparing for Christmas. I hope they learn a little more about the love of the Christ Child. Mostly I hope we can keep this season simple for them.
What about you? Leave your thoughts on hope in the comments below.
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And if you want to read more about hoping…
- Here’s an essay I wrote for Notre Dame’s FaithND on the death of my older brother and what he taught me about hope.