Traditionally, the Church focuses on the themes of hope, peace, joy, and love consecutively during the four weeks of Advent, the preparation for the birth of Christ at Christmas. This birth happens within us, each year enhanced by our inner work.
If we look at the word hope, applying it to our inner preparation and effort, we gain strength for moving through the weeks ahead towards our goal. Hope, elpis, means expectation; we are expecting to give birth to a greater awareness of the presence of Christ within us.
Elpis also means confidence. How confident are we that Christ is within us, and that we will become more aware of his presence each year?
Another form of the word elpis is elpizo which means trust. How much trust do we have in the presence of Christ – in this world and within each human being? A measure of our trust can be found in the way we treat other human beings. Even the most annoying person has Christ in his or her body and blood. They may be overcome by negative forces, but this does not mean that Christ is not within them.
To have no hope, apelpizo, is despair and disappointment. It is certainly easy to despair and be disappointed with humanity. It is helpful to stop and ask ourselves; is it the human being that disappoints us, or do we despair because they have allowed themselves to be influenced by forces that work against Christ? We can maintain hope when we think of St Paul’s words, “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Col 1:27
Hope does not mean confidence and trust in an obscure God referred to religious circles; we are called to have confidence and trust in ourselves, in our own Higher Self, our I Am. Only when we experience the reality of our I Am will we know the reality of God, not before. God is not confined by time and space, God is eternal and part of eternity. Only when we experience our eternal being, our I Am, can we know what this means. This is our only hope, this gives us confidence, and in this we can trust.