Here we are again in the first week of advent. A new beginning; a chance to think about the changing seasons, the year behind us, and to learn from what was, what is or what may be…
Our family tradition is to light a candle for each week of advent, and for me the first candle has always represented hope. One year ago, when we lit the candle of hope, we were hoping for so many things. One year later, in a different time and a different place, we have a new perspective on what hope means for our family. Over the year, as the seasons have shifted, we have thought a lot about hope… for ourselves, for our loved ones, and for the world we live in every day.
“All human wisdom is summed up in two words: wait and hope.” (Alexandre Dumas)
It has been a challenging year for us, for many reasons, and I know we are not alone in this. And yet, through all the challenges, there is hope. On Sunday evening, when we lit the first advent candle, I thought of the hopes that have sustained me and now I hope to share them with you…
My hope from the past is to carry forward the spirit of the women who inspire me with their lives and passion, who died knowing they lived their own best lives, who passed the torch of creativity, love and light, and who live in my heart everyday. I’m grateful that they shared their gifts with me, and love that I can pass that legacy on to others.
My hope in the present comes from my children, who fill my days with questions and curiosity. They live for joy in every season – laughing, growing, bubbling wonder and awe – and have carried my tired spirit through this year in particular. Miss G, who read Anne Frank’s diary just last Spring, has a gift for being insightful and for respecting others. Her ability to bring empathy and compassion with her every single day makes my heart sing. G. Jr., only in the first grade, has charmed his way into the hearts of everyone he meets. His happiness at the little things is completely contagious – spiders, bottle caps, interesting clouds – through his eyes the whole wide world is one hopeful opportunity after another.
My hope for the future feels more uncertain, but I imagine it is similar to many of yours: for kindness, empathy, understanding and compassion to reach further than skepticism, criticism, negativity and fear. Just like the light of that first candle dispels some of the late fall gloom, hope can shine through the darkness that sometimes obscures the better parts of humanity. Don’t let darkness convince you that you are lost or alone – so many of us are waiting with hope inside. Whatever it is that brings you hope – hold on tight.
“Where there’s hope, there’s life. It fills us with fresh courage and makes us strong again.” (Anne Frank)