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My Hope continues to need prompts. The scent and blossom of the rose give me cues, and this week the Light in the semi-dark expands my repertoire of signs. I love our Advent Candles, plopped down in the midst of closed blinds, rumpled couch covers, and uncertain plans. The world hovers with great grayness, disheveled-ness and despair. But in Advent someone keeps lighting a Light!

The Gospeller records: What has come into being in him was Life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. (John 1:3b-5)

How much I am looking for points of Light, as a former president phrases it! And I have noticed and felt them. As I am being treated in physical therapy, my healer tells me a story of Thanksgiving largesse, spontaneous, imaginative and far ranging, with compassion, kindness and long-lasting effect. In hearing about the death of  long-time saint of God, I also hear an outpouring of times and places where her milk of human kindness was served to so many with energy, intelligence, imagination and love. A community observes the anniversary of a horrendous act or terror, and despite the deep wounds that will leave scars forever, as individuals and clusters, they pray, they witness, they improve methods of protection and they support one another.

I am grateful for each voice and pen that shows a way to light the Light in Hope in this Advent season: for each prophetic pastor who speaks the Truth in Love, for each blogger who does not sink into hand-wringing or indulge in diatribes or leap to ad hominem assaults of shame and blame, for each commentator whose voice is that of the turtle-dove rather than the hawk. I receive Hope in each conversation in which the darkness is not denied, but pragmatic steps to turn the Light on are offered–writing letters to people in power; bringing in the trash cans of an elderly neighbor; giving to food programs, blood banks and toy drives. Not any of them alone bring the Light of Hope to full blaze, but each little Light reflects the Light of Life, and gives Hope.

I will keep my eyes open for points of Light this week: in the concert hall, in the shopping center, in the general stores and specialty stores, in the coffee shops, in my living room, in my inbox, on the phone, on Facebook, in the mail. And then I will ask myself where I can bring the Light of Hope–next door? down the block? across the street? to the food bank? to the start-up in service of the frail? to this particular conversation in which I find myself? If the Light is shining, it needs to shine in me, through me, with all my limitations, opportunities, and affections. And I am humming in Hope from the Iona Community, “Kindle a flame to lighten the dark, and take all fear away, ” flexing my Hope muscles in belief that the Light cannot be extinguished