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Hope – is a confident inner alignment, coupled with a positive expectation. However, there is no real certainty as to whether or not this desired outcome will actually occur. Hope is the comprehensive emotional and often action-guiding orientation of the people on the future.

Thinking a little bit about these lines above, the idea arises that hope always occurs when there is dissatisfaction or uncertainty. Given the near-obvious threats to our actually wonderful Earth, this probably affects the majority of people. Whether they are affected by the onset of climate change because they are losing their land and home or they are worried about losing their jobs – both are the basis of their uncertainty. Whether the children can get no, or only a poor, education for their future, or their own country does no longer offer a future because of mismanagement and corruption or by warlike and permanent criminal acts. Whether the land was destroyed by natural disasters and was rebuilt only temporarily or not at all, or whether the human himself has dehydrated lakes with his actions, rivers became diverted, the land became destroyed and devastated by technics and pollution and was made useless for generations. We could easily enumerate many more reasons. However, you see, there are enough reasons for people to leave their homelands and venture on an uncertain and dangerous journey into the future. “Escape” and “migration” are present in many parts of the world of today, with all their by-products and effects.

Escape – always means to leave behind everything familiar: family, friends and a habitual environment and to start into the uncertainty. How many of us can or really want to imagine what it means not to know if there will be something to eat or drink tomorrow. In the news, we see or hear about the great mass of people who come to our borders or have to live in unworthy camps. And as always, so many individual destinies becomes ignored, get lost in a loud world driven by greed, competition, success, and seeking power. The losers everywhere are men, women, and children – simple and unique humans who are just looking for a new basis for their lives. They fall into the shadows, into insignificance – into nothingness …

But still, there is here and there, the little joy, the spark of hope. Whether it’s the smiling, encouraging look of a stranger behind the border fence, the hearty laugh of some young people at the train station, or a hearty “good morning” from the shop assistant or police officer. Those little rays of hope of everyday life that remind us that there is something more which we could bring to our neighbor – something that gives light and warmth. These little things are like the candles that we light in Advent. Where darkness first prevails, it is suddenly there, this light in the dark. That light that gives us hope again. The shining that serves as a cornerstone and guideline to discovering even the still unlighted candles which are in the shadows behind. A path of hope opens up, which gives us fresh energy and new courage – and encourages us once more to change the world into a better one. Especially for Christians, it means giving hope, bringing our rich hope to others. (cf Heb 6: 11-12). These days of Advent invite us, even more, to meet our neighbor without distinction but with small gestures of love.

In this way, we can be a first little light in a dark environment, which points to a much larger, coming one.

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