Need a little hope this year? Don't look under the tree.

Do you ever feel hopeless? It can happen when you hear or read the news. It can happen when you look at your bank account. It can happen sitting in traffic driving to a job that you hate. It can happen when think about what is next in your life and realize that there is a gap between what you want and the constraints in your life. You find it difficult to consider that things will get better. The thought of anything improving feels like wishful thinking. And you would love to have some hope.

Last week I talked about Reframing Christmas. I wrote, "I want to help make the season sacred for you - regardless of your religous beliefs or where you place your self on the spiritual spectrum. I’m not just going for sacred but also for truthful and honest and authentic. I want you embrace the mystery of this season and sit with all of it. And at the end of December, look back satsified you reclaimed the holidays. One way I am focusing on bringing the sacred into my life this year is by reclaiming advent. You are probably familiar with advent calendars. They are a big deal. I read an article on calendars that go beyond chocolate. Read it here. Clearly retailers have figured out advent sells! You can get just about anything money can buy in an advent calendar.

But advent traditionally was about reminding us that there are things in life that money can't buy. Things like hope, peace, joy and love. This week on Reframe Your Life I explore hope. You can hear the whole episode here.

Since I recorded the episode I have been thinking about the difference between saying, "I hope things work out" and "I have hope things will work out." Charles Snyder and his associates have researched hope. His work is called Hope Theory and he says if you have hope you have the will and determination that your goals will be achieved and a set of strategies at your disposal to reach your goals. What I understand about hope is that it can be learned. You believe you'll be able to reach your goal and you have a way or a plan to get there. I think your will, determination and belief that you'll reach your goal can come from faith or spirituality. It's definitely worth considering. Do you have hope? How do you understand hope?

Tomorrow is the first Sunday in advent. I have a few people in my life going through difficult times. I know from experience that sometimes when life gets difficult and when we are experiencing pain and suffering, we can lose sight of hope. We don't see a way through the darkness. So, I've decided to light a candle and hold space for them this weekend. It's my way of reclaiming advent. My hope isn't magical thinking that everything will turn out great. It's rooted in knowing that there is a way through the pain in life.