I love the Christmas season. I love the smell of pine, the chill in the air, the good food, the merry gatherings, and the music all around. The songs range from reindeer on the rooftops to declarations of the glory of God, and in that space, there is a story. Whether we long for Santa or God (or both), our hearts ache for someone or something greater than ourselves; a story of grandeur.

When we hope, we are longing for that which we do not have; we are reaching for something that is beyond us. We dream of a life that we want, yet sometimes that life is out of our grasps in our current state; but that dream, that hope, can fill us with such passion and drive that the life we desire will not be out of reach for long. We all have something to hope for, because we are all in need. We are in need of kindness, love, peace, and a better world.

Where there is a need, there is a need for hope.

We should always be challenging ourselves to grow, and pursue that which makes us come alive. The hope of the world, is that people will come alive and bring the healing that the world needs.

Hope is the campaign slogan that won Barak Obama his first term as president. He spoke to the very core of all of us as he laid out a vision of a country that can change the trajectory of this world. He called us to become the people that we dream we can be, and embrace our role in the future of our world.

Lou Holtz says that for someone to life a fulfilling life they need to have something to do, someone to love, something to believe in, and something to look forward to. In other words, we need a purpose, and hope is a pillar of that purpose.

Hope has always been a guiding force in my life. I have had to remind myself time and time again that we are not at the end, and that no matter how many times I fail; there is always a chance to make things right and try again. This expectation becomes even more important as I get older. If I believe that my best chance to accomplish something great is behind me, then dreams lose their power to inspire and purpose fades; the moments, days, and years ahead seem meaningless. On the other hand, when you believe that your chance for impact and accomplishment is ever before you; purpose and inspiration will abound all around.

When hope thrives, the future is bright.

While I was looking back through one of my journals today, I was reminded of my fundamentals in life. The words I saw on those pages were written over the past three years. The themes I saw were love, faith, creativity, perseverance, and hope. There were many struggles and disappointments on pages, but they were met with words of hope and strength; the words I have written in the past were speaking to me in the present.

Each day is a building block in the tower of who we are, and if the days are the structure; then our decisions are the mortar that hold the building together. We choose hopelessness or hopefulness constantly throughout our days, we can see the cup half empty or we can see the chance to fill the cup.

Hope is a fundamental of life; do not lose it, and if it is fading; seek it fiercely.

At year’s end

As the year comes to a close…

It’s that time of year for reflection and action as we learn from the days behind us, and look forward to the days ahead. The here and now is a good place to be. There is much joy, and much to be thankful for during the holidays; as well as a chance to dig deep. Amidst all of this, there is a dance between joy; and at times, an unexplainable sadness.

Goodness, kindness, and community are highlighted during the Christmas season. It is embedded in the movies we watch and the songs we sing; a hope for a better world, and a hope for change. We cheer for Scrooge, who finally sees that people are the most precious commodity. We shed tears of joy as George Bailey discovers that the wonderful life he has been searching for has been right in front of him the whole time.

Now the sadness, well there must be a reason and a place for it too right?

The holidays are also a time for togetherness, which can potentially make time alone feel well… lonely. I believe that this idea of togetherness highlights those who are no longer with us, and still hold a part of our hearts. All of us have lost someone to some extent; whether it be death to the body,  the heart that has lost hope, or a relationship faded. All things that have passed need to be mourned.

This aloneness does not have to equate to loneliness; it may be necessary.

 These times may be a call to reflect, remember, accept, or take action.

Who we are and what we do matters in this life. 

We live in the space between joy and sadness, so we must seek the purpose that is within that space.

Bitter Sweet

It’s a bitter-sweet symphony, this life.

I feel this way at times during the holiday season.

Joy and sadness mingled together to make a melody that speaks deep into my core. It’s a time to embrace friends and family that are here, and lament those that are not.

The true beauty of this song, is the mental and emotional plain you can find yourself on. If you allow yourself the time to dive deep into both the joy and the sadness, we may find ourselves at a place of clarity. Personally, both aspects of this bring me to a place of action.

I’m a day dreamer, many of those dreams attainable if I put myself out there. Most require me start laying a foundation to build on. Any relationship that we want to maintain, grow, or establish; require us to do something. It can be as simple as making a phone call, or grabbing a cup of coffee (or tea if that’s your…well…cup of tea I guess).

I just watched It’s a wonderful Life last night with my youngest daughter, which in itself was great experience (I’ll take any snuggle time I can get with my kids nowadays). It was a good reminder that true wealth and fulfillment is not found through monetary means; but rather, in the relationships we have. I love the quote at the end (which I reference a lot) “No man is failure who has friends.”

So let us embrace both the song of praise, and the song of lament this season; as we remember that which has passed, and that which lies ahead.