I love the Christmas season. It is a time when a child’s wonder is most allowed in adults. Lights sparkle on every street corner. Cheer is in the air. Snow is even more welcome. It is at this time of year, amid all the trials and tribulations of adulthood, that we can take a few weeks to remember the innocence and joy of childhood.
This past Sunday, Advent began. Whether we believe in Santa Claus or not, whether we celebrate Christmas as the birth of Jesus or not, or whether we celebrate another holiday during this time of year, the message of Advent can remind us of principles that propel us toward a wonderful new year. Various church denominations offer differing views on what each candle of the advent wreath represents, but I’ve decided to stay with the simplest of meanings. The first week, the candle of Hope is lit.
Hope is something all writers carry in their hearts. The hope that we will finish the manuscript. The hope that we will be published. The hope that readers will like our work. Hope is all about expectation, an expectation that something good will happen.
It also has a flip side. If we are hoping for something better, than the connotation is that what we have right now is not a fulfillment of what we long for. This is another reason I love this time of year. The darkness of the northern hemisphere is a reminder that everything has a season. Right now, we can enjoy the stars, the golden moon, the cozy candles and sparkling lights that brighten the isolation and sadness of night. Then, at the coming of mid-winter, the darkness will soon be at its peak. Just as hope is lost, the light returns.
As writers, this is the climax of our stories. The hero who is about to die and then overcomes. That is the great part about hope. No matter how dire the situation, hope gives us the strength to continue. It gives us something to look forward to, something to move toward. Hope is the light that brings the traveler home.
What hope is carrying you through to the new year?