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What does our hope look like this Advent season?

December 14, 2011

By Sister Sheila S.

Advent begins in hope and moves us through this season.  We lit the candle of hope in the first week expecting, anticipating and preparing for the coming of Christ.  We celebrate the birth of Jesus and we long for his final coming one day.  It is that hope that moves us forward and calls us to anticipate and prepare for that day.  When we have hope we can look to the future, when we are lacking in hope, we get stuck where we are and we cannot see beyond the present.

Recently, I had a discussion with a college student who was feeling as though she had lost hope due to a series of unfortunate events.  She is deeply spiritual but these happenings in her life had led her to think that the things she had hoped for were now not happening and maybe her hope was false. 

I relayed a recent story of hope that I experienced with a dear friend.  She was diagnosed with stage 4 liver cancer and although there was not a good prognosis she moved forward with a chemotherapy treatment that would put anyone over the edge physically, emotional and spiritually.

She never lost hope that she would be cancer-free and back to her old life once again. And so her hope enabled her to endure the devastation of the treatment.  After 5 months of treatment she was encouraged by the results of numerous tests and so was her doctor.

Eight weeks later the cancer returned to her liver with a vengeance.  She said to her doctor, “I had such hope that I would beat this cancer.”  To which the doctor said, “and now you hope in a different direction…you hope that you will be pain free, you hope that you will be at peace as you anticipate your death, you hope that you will have the time you need to see those who are close to you,  you hope that God will be present to you in unexpected and wonderful ways during this final journey.”

My friend left the office and never looked back, she said to all, “I am hoping in a new direction.”   She died virtually pain free, she saw as many people as possible in her last three weeks and she was ready and waiting and at peace when the moment of death came.

Where is my hope now?  What direction does my hope need to go?

Advent – a season of hope – may each of us receive the grace we need during this season to keep our hope alive and rooted in the God who comes to save us.

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. Romans 15:13

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