Hope is such an intangible abstract. What is it based on, and how do I wrap understanding around it? I have often thought of hope as wishful thinking. There were times when I thought hope was faith in its infancy. I thought hope was composed of the positive things and the pep talks that were given to me in life. Hope seemed to me too weak to sustain someone in their darkest moments. Hope seemed to me to be equated with things like luck, or catching a good break or the idea that I might be saved from misfortune in the nick of time. When my life was filled with negativity I hoped the good times would continue roll. I hoped that external things would fix me, at least for the moment. How many people continue to play numbers, buy lottery tickets and gamble in so many ways with hope that luck, chance or good fortune would touch them in the way they felt would be the touch they longed for? How many times have I gotten the things I had hoped for only to quickly grow dissatisfied with them and move on to the next hope. I believe hope is the first rung on a 3 step ladder. Hope is what we wish to be true. Faith is the second rung. This is the step that upon reflection we find that our every need has been provided. The provisions may not be dressed in the packages we'd like to fancy, but faith is coming into the understanding that in the face of all that appears to be there is the fundamental knowledge that all is well. "Though he slay me I will trust in the Lord". There can be many, many extremely uncomfortable situations to face. Some are physical, some mental or emotional. Some can be all three at the same time (in spades). What I have learned is that those times are where the greatest strengths are gained. When you look back over your journey and marvel at just how far you have come. The third step on this ladder is fruition. Fruition is when the infancy steps have been taken. When finding the way is relying on chance and the bulletproof folly of youth. When mortality has knocked on your door and people you know pass away in increasing numbers. When that close relative or friend is no longer around. When people younger than you leave this earth and you are left with the question, "why". This is when it becomes evident that a power greater than myself is in control. Like hope, this power is also intangible, but what may appear to be providence becomes a desired companion. This relationship can be cultivated and honed into the faith that can make you smile in the face of adversity. Then fruition, that third step on this particular ladder is when you know that you know that you know. For my understanding the leader of fruition is personified in the life of Jesus Christ. For generations it was rumored that one would come who would fill the roll of the Christ, the Savior, the Messiah. The one that would bring into this world the light to prove that this world is an illusion, that death is not king because man is not the body nor the soul , but a spirit and a part of God. The most valued possession of an earthly person is their physical body, and Jesus proved that to be false, and that the resurrection is a fact. Hope is good. It is very good. Faith is more comforting than hope. But when you know you know that you are One with Christ Jesus. This is fruition. It is a relationship that must be maintained and it is our duty to continue to carry our cross (this flesh) with the full knowledge and certainty that at our appointed time we will be one with God Almighty and his Precious Son Jesus. Happy Holiday to you All "Success comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it."

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