Advent - Hope
Christmas is a time of mixed emotions for many individuals. Some of us are the crazy Christmas people who started decorating in July ... some of us lean to Scrooge who throughout most of the Christmas Carol, refuses to celebrate or even allow anyone else to celebrate. Most people fall somewhere between the two; I lean more to Scrooge because I prefer Christmas to be limited to the month of December (personally, that's stretching it a bit much, for me though).
One of the traditions that I do enjoy is Advent - those weeks before Christmas arrives. This week is the first week of Advent, and it celebrates Hope - something we all need.
Christmas, according to some, is a Christian over-taking of a pagan holiday. There seems to be some agreement that is the case, but most of our facts are lost to the early reaches of time. Suffice it to say Christmas falls around mid-winter when it is darkest outside, and when families gather together. Liturgically, it is the beginning of the Church's calendar year to focus on the coming birth, death and resurrection of Christ; reaching a crescendo with Easter it culminates with Pentecost.
Defining HopeHope is one of those interesting words. When I was little, I was taught two different concepts behind the word. One is wishful: I hope it will snow on Christmas (something, I might add was rare in an area controlled by the Chesapeake Bay). The other was certain: My hope is founded on the Lord Jesus Christ.
Now, the grammarians will point out that the first hope is a verb, while the second is a noun. Merriam-Webster defines hope as a verb: to want something to happen or be true and think that it could happen or be true. As a noun: the feeling of wanting something to happen and thinking that it could happen; a feeling that something good will happen or be true; the chance that something good will happen; someone or something that may be able to provide help; someone or something that gives you a reason for hoping.