A senior scientist at Gallup, the late Dr. Shane J. Lopez, shows us the research backing up how hope can make things happen. He writes: “Other conditions being equal, hope leads to a 12 percent gain in academic performance, a 14 percent bump in workplace outcomes, and a 10 percent happiness boost for hopeful people. To put this in practical terms, a group of typical high-hope students score a letter grade better on a final exam than their low-hope peers. A group of high-hope salespeople sell as much product in six days as their low-hope colleagues do in seven days. And high-hope people are just plain happier than their low-hope friends.” In short: Hope boosts your happiness, makes you more productive, improves your health and well-being, and even helps you live longer. Hope is the spark to what becomes possible. Hope is the ability to see a vision of a world as it is promised by God and it is far more than a fanciful dream of a few foolish overly-optimistic people. Hope motivates us to dream, and if we can see the vision, then surely we can live into it. Hope opens my eyes to see the vision God has for me, for you, for us and then live into it.  Hope is believing in spite of the evidence – and then watching evidence change. As I shift toward a new year I’m hoping for kinder relationships and a more respectful community.

Scripture Reading: Ephesians 1:18
“Then, with the eyes of your hearts enlightened, you will know the confidence that is produced by God having called you, the rich glory that is his inheritance among the saints”

Reflection Questions:
What are your hopes for this coming year?
What is the difference between hope and wishful thinking?
What helps your heart to become more enlightened?

Prayer: Holy God, let my heart, mind and soul be awaken to your presence in my life. May your Spirit of hope, truth and love guide me this day and always.  Amen.