By Rev. Paul Shupe
Hope is a mountain climber with her boots off at the top of a great peak, basking in the sun, feeling very much one with the mountain below, and yet in the same moment gazing at the vast horizon, of other peaks not yet climbed offering the promise of more days to come like this one.  Hope is both the rootedness in the present moment and the simultaneous imagining of others to come.  Hope is the hear and now and the there and then in harmony with one another.
Hope is the awareness of all that Jesus has taught you, the joys of serving others, of giving without counting cost, of being accepted just as you are, all the while keeping eyes wide open to see the opportunities to love and to serve tomorrow, too.  Hope is knowing that you are loved and therefore capable of loving, and that this wondrous knowledge will be as true tomorrow.
Hope is the precarious balance between the goodness that is, and that which is yet to come, and life is impossible without it.
Joy is often unappreciated at high speed.  What I mean is that joyful time passes quickly- time really does fly when you are having fun.  But the breakneck pace of joy makes it hard to truly enjoy it, to savor it, to plumb its depths.  Advent waiting is intended to slow the pace of the joy of the season, to give the fruit of joy time to ripen, so that when Christmas arrives, we have slowed enough to experience joy in all its wondrous depth.
May God grant us the wisdom to slow the pace, to love the wait, to be content with today’s daily bread, so that the joys of this season: of giving, of reunion, of light breaking into our darkness, might be fully experienced, not only as they are happening, but even more as they are remembered tomorrow.