Since this summer, I've felt alternately discouraged, anxious, depressed, worried, and uncertain. Since the holiday season has begun, I have felt hope. Hope is such an interesting and enigmatic phenomenon. A very little bit (the proverbial "mustard seed") is enough to counter all the cynicism and pessimism in the world. A tiny spark of light can illuminate a roomy space.
Lately I've been more attuned to hope in my heart and in the world around me. I don't know what belief system you subscribe to; regardless of your spirituality, I think you may recognize what I'm discussing. It's a coming-together, a synchronicity, a blessing, a one-ness, an acknowledgement of a higher power, an enlightenment. For me, I feel like God has answered a prayer that was so deeply tied to my psyche, so important to my state of being, that I didn't even recognize it was there. It was an emptiness, a tiredness, at a deep soul level. Slowly, surely, this emptiness is being filled. I've been noticing more kindness, more goodness, more light. I am comforted. I am hopeful.
And the light goes on shining in the dark; it is not overcome by the dark. -- John 1:5
This time of year is full of references to light. The winter solstice approaches - the time when the earth tilts, and the days lengthen, and the light increases. Hannukah is a festival of lights. The celebration of light is one of the best parts of Christmas for me, and I'm glad the early Christians borrowed the pagan customs. The importance of light to life is primal. The way that Jesus, light of the world, comes to us in the guiding light of the star, is such a great narrative echo of God's decree to "let there be light."
This mystery, this connection, of light and hope - how strong the light of a single candle is, how tenuous hope is - thrills me to my very core. It's how Christmas is real to me this year. It's what makes me feel connected to humans and Christians across the ages. Hope is real, and more powerful than despair. And now I know this for myself. And I hope you feel it too!