If the focus of last week’s blog was on the word compassion, hope was there right along with it.
An article in last week’s London Free Press about the jobless rate in London, also referred to how fluid hope and despair were; how much hope and despair factored into unemployment figures of all things; how decisions about hiring and job opportunities were about hope.
That’s a huge economic burden to place on one little four letter word but it reflected an individual’s belief of how people’s actions are driven by how they understand hope.
Hope can be expressed in many different ways. It is given to others by encouraging and inspiring them to reach their potential. It creates a warm, welcoming and positive environment. It provides emotional and mutual support.
Hope allows all of us to demonstrate our faith in others.
I think of how hope is reflected in all of our branches during Christmas, especially Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Our shelters have to be the worst place to spend these two days. Ask yourself – “how bad does life have to be to either choose to spend Christmas in a shelter or because of circumstances beyond your control you are in a shelter because you have no where else to go?” Can there be any hope for the residents?
I answer yes. The shelters provide hope, because there is somewhere warm to go, there are beds available, there is a roof overhead. More to the point, there is a community, a sense of family. It may be the worst place to be, but for our residents at least they do not have to be alone, and their physical needs are met.
So what does any of this have to do with Advent? Advent means coming, and specifically for Christians it is Christ’s coming to earth. Advent is a season of anticipation. It is a season of hope.
Hope reflects, for Christians, an assurance that eventually everything will be made right, that eventually poverty will be eliminated, that eventually justice will be for all and will be done, that eventually everyone will be cared for and looked after. It is that hope of events in the future that shapes, prods and impels our actions today.
Hope informs our actions at Mission Services of London today. You too can give hope by your actions. As we begin the second week of advent, share your hope with others. But not just for this week; resolve to share it beyond this Advent season.