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Hope has been described as a winged thing. It is elusive. It requires continuous fostering, like a weak flame, yet it can shore us up against a mountain of doubt and pain. But what is hope, really? And how does one find it or hold on to it when it seems so very far away?

In Greek myth, hope is the last thing remaining in the box that the curious Pandora opens. Every sort of evil is loosed upon the world, but at least hope is retained. The myth is imbued with a deep truthfulness: Hope is often the last weapon in our arsenal, the last crumb remaining once we realize our entire metaphoric package of crackers has gone missing.

Hope is an awareness of God’s continued presence in our lives, whether that presence is felt through the direct actions of others or merely understood dimly and intangibly. That’s the best definition I’ve got. Some of my friends are hard-pressed for hope these days. Things around them appear bleak. All that I can genuinely offer is a listening ear and faith God’s providential care. I believe in hope. Sometimes this must suffice.

A lot of people have written a lot of things about hope. Here is my addition, a prayer for two friends who dearly need it.

Dear Souls,
the last thing in the box
is the first you require.
Here, take mine.
I keep it in abundant supply,
filed neatly between faith and prayer.
It is cupped in a hand, like water to parched lips.
May God, my provider,
give you much to drink.



Have a Mary Little Christmas

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