"Hope is a gift. It is the gift God bestows on us so we may continuously seek God and grow in goodness, love, and happiness. But hope demands a response on our part. Hope is not simply a feeling. It is a choice; it is a decision. We choose to hope not because we are blind to the evils in the world, but because we have a vision that goes beyond the immediate or the readily visible. Our faith in God and in Jesus tells us that God's grace is at work just beneath the surface of the observable, transforming the world into the Reign of God.

"Blaise Pascal said that faith is a wise wager. I think hope is a wise wager too. As Christians we hope, that is, we are betting with our whole life that our deepest longings are leading us to God. We are betting that no matter how messy or confused our lives may be, God is with us extracting good from the very stuff of our every day. We are betting that good will triumph over evil, love is stronger than hate, and death leads to everlasting life. And we are making such a wise bet because we believe in the promises of God and the life and teachings of Jesus.

"When we hope, we are betting that a better world is coming. It is already in process. The Indian human rights activist Arundhati Roy is a woman of hope working for a better tomorrow. She writes: 'Not only is another world possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.'

"God of hope,
help me to live joyfully in the imperfect world,
the world of the good, the bad, and the ambiguous.
May I live in this real world with enthusiasm,
and not become disheartened
by some of the negative things I see and experience.
May I daily choose to have hope because I have a vision
that goes beyond the immediate or the readily visible.
May I bet with my whole life that a better world is not only possible,
she is on her way.
Give me the quiet grace to hear her breathing.