Hope in the darkness

It’s Advent and I keenly feel the notion of hope against hope, that I am navigating my way with a brief candle in the darkness. I find that I have lost hope in most institutions and groups of humans, but feel hopeful about our individual capacity for goodness. I would really like to hear what you are all hopeful about. I won’t second-guess your sources of hope, but perhaps hearing where you get your hopes will brighten my own. Happy Advent and Merry Christmas.

Comments

  1. I have hope that the kids are alright – that they see our present moment in some ways more darkly, but in other ways more clearly than we do – and they have the will and strength to build a better world

  2. Kristen Nicholes says:

    I have hope for the human spirit – after years of depression in grad school, I’m starting to make headway on my thesis, but even better, I’m able to offer a listening ear to family members who are suffering. I want to have hope that some of our pains (personal and collective) can help us to give more once we’re on the other side.

  3. J. Stapley says:

    My ward has really been a source of hope for me. All sorts of people working hard to do good, show kindness, and love.

  4. Brett DeLange says:

    Thank you for the invitation. I realized for the first time, reading Moroni chapter 10, verse three, Moroni invites us to ponder how merciful God is. For a man who had seen such loss and despair, it is a powerful invitation for me. And so in today’s world of tumult and loss, I can take comfort in and lean upon the truth that there is a God in heaven who is merciful and in thatmercy will bless us and love us. Peace to you this season.

  5. I hope that the majority of us are good, are kind, are caring, are interested in the welfare of all. I hope that I, despite my many failings, may be counted as a part of that majority.

  6. I have hope that by seeing how others are suffering, we may learn greater compassion.

  7. I have hope in Christ. Not necessarily in his servants. I have hope that ultimately he does not employ servants at the gate. I have hope that the love of Christ will eventually prevail, notwithstanding other imperatives. I have hope that he has founded a grace that is big enough for all of it, and also just for me, that it cannot be bound by any box, but yet will light on every feather.

  8. I find hope in humor. Life is dark and bleak, but also really, very funny.

  9. In addition to all the individual acts of kindness, and the people stocking shelves at the local Smith’s which has been so important to me this year, I take a step back from sometimes shocking headlines and remember the many election officials and governors and legislators, and ministers and bishops and stake presidents, and scientists and researchers and front line and supporting medical personnel, and more, who have stood up and gone to work and just generally done the right thing this year. And my grandson’s laugh upon reconnecting with his father after a month’s absence which was also to do the right thing. I think we’ll be OK.

  10. I have hope in the spiritual power of hope itself.

  11. I have hope that after a mismanaged health crisis that has taken the lives of 300,000 Americans, we now have an incoming administration that will listen to experts, trust science, and be more concerned about the welfare of American citizens (and others) than about a president’s fragile ego. I also have hope that the vaccine will work, eventually, to tame this tiny beast. And I hope the irrational anti-vaxers will be more concerned about their neighbors than about their devotion to conspiracy theories. Okay, maybe that last one is too much to expect, but hey, it was worth a try.

  12. My cynicism is well known; I still try to mitigate it, but only with authentic reality. I often retreat to my hope in ordinary decent people, that they exist and manage to grow their decency/empathy/compassion in ordinary everyday things, which are rather heroic in spite of going unnoticed. Chris Kimball approached this idea above, people of solid principle and understanding, with humility and awareness, going about their jobs.

    The finest example of this I’ve seen recently is the poll workers here in Arizona and elsewhere, who meticulously and carefully tallied the ballots cast in the November election. They are political nerds of all parties, and independents, and were dedicated to getting a truthful, accurate count, in spite of pressure from demonstrators outside the building, inexplicably demanding that they “Count The Vote” and sometimes harassing the workers coming and going. Not to mention the pressure from the highest government officials, criticizing their work as fraudulent, loudly in public, and also through paid legal teams in local and federal courtrooms.

    I have so much pride in our system of government, under attack and suffering terrible stress of abysmal division, with a seeming pandemic of lies and gaslighting and actual sedition from some elected officials. And yet this part of the system not only held, but performed so beautifully in non-partisan patriotism that Chris Krebs, Trump’s appointee in the Dept of Homeland Security responsible to oversee the election process, was able to truthfully assert that the ballot process nationwide was secure with no evidence of widespread tampering. For which he was fired via Twitter, and endures persecution as thanks for his two year’s of work quietly assisting states in hardening our system against interference.

    I also look with hope at our judiciary who faithfully dismissed all the cases of election fraud brought by the losing campaign due to lack of evidence. This far some 60 lawsuits have been quickly ended, even by judges who were appointed by Trump himself, because they refuse to corrupt themselves.

    So yeah, our government is mired in the proverbial hand basket, infected with rot while people are sick and dying, and economies are withering, but not every corner of it. There are still a few patriots and statesmen on the job, and I hope to encourage more of it.

  13. Gosh that’s windbaggery of me. Sorry I didn’t have time to edit today. I don’t blame anyone for tl:dr.

  14. I have lost so much hope in this past year – not just from the pandemic and all its associated problems, but also just from personal relationships, etc. However, through all my issues, I have found hope in turning towards Jesus Christ to help me lift my burdens and for allowing me to see broader perspectives.

  15. Lovely comments that show me I am not alone in both my temporal despair but also my eternal hope, which is renewed when I look at the night sky and consider the cosmos in motion. The winter equinox sees us turn from darkness into light.

  16. Hope has become more and more painful the older I get. I cannot even consider hope in the resurrection anymore, for example, because of the immense dizzying distance of the fall if the hope is unrealized. I find instead that I am happiest surprised by joys of the moment, which I do not expect but find happening quite often. In the meantime the clock ticks toward my own death, and who knows?

  17. Another windbag says:

    I listened from home to my wife’s Scottish evangelical pastor give his Christmas sermon today. He took it from the book of Daniel chapter 6. This is where Daniel is thrown to the lions.

    He started out describing that a common lawn sign this year states ” Everything is going to be OK” and it had been the object of systematic vandalism. When the teenage culprits were caught, they defended their actions by saying the signs were lies. Everything is not OK. And they are right, although trashing lawn signs is not OK either.

    He then, after reading many verses, indicated that Daniel was guilty of breaking the law of the King and his punishment was legally justified. Praying to God is not going to get you out of legal trouble. The other corrupt high officials who trapped Daniel with the law they knew he would not follow received just punishment by being thrown to the lions too, who promptly broke all their bones into pieces. Their wives and children were also thrown to the lions. They were guilty of original sin which we don’t believe is real. This is a problem, especially if we think the story is literal history and not an allegory. But it is typical of human experience any way you take it.

    The King declares at the end, in a poem, that the God of Daniel is legitimate in the strongest terms. The chapter ends with a dark, they lived happily ever after. Daniel prospered during his life-long captivity. Daniel was never delivered from captivity. Everything is not OK, never was for Daniel and we fool ourselves when we think it is.

    The lion’s den must have been pitch dark all that night long. But God meets us in the darkness of our lives. Jonah was in another dark place when God met him and rescued him by making him into whale barf. And this is what Christmas is about. Jesus coming to us in our a dark and twisted place and offering us hope, maybe a glimmer of it in this life. But more in the next. We celebrate his birth and look forward to his second coming, which for most of us will probably be at our death, if we are one of His sheep.

    When we are in the depths of darkness and reach out to God, he responds in 4 ways.
    * He miraculously rescues us as in shutting the lion’s mouth. (Rare).
    *He gives us or has given us the tools or talents to fix our own problem, which eventually becomes dangerous when we get self-reliant and forget God.
    * He gives us peace in enduring anything, as in the case of Christians fed to lions in the Roman coliseums, where the blood of martyrs became the fertilizer for the spread of the gospel.
    *He lets us suffer alone, in despair for a variable time, even unto death. Strange but true.

    Even Christ was left alone on the Cross. The evangelists retain it in the original Hebrew (Aramaic?): Eli Eli lama sabachthani for emphasis, explaining its meaning: my God my God why has thou forsaken me? This a direct quote from Psalms 22. Both of the fulcrums of the Old and New Testament (David and Jesus) experienced it. Are we to expect anything less? This is a disturbingly common event in human history.