This week was the final gathering of the four week Advent Retreat in Daily Living I gave at the University of St. Thomas School of Law. Our theme for this week was Gift Giving. As we start to get ready to move from an Advent spirit to a Christmas one, the question is what gift will we bring to the world? What is the Christmas gift I am offering to the world (and by so doing, offering to God).
After the participants spent some time sharing their prayer experiences of the past week, I talked about the particular gift we as Christians are called to bring to the world, that is, to be beacons of hope in troubled times. Although we all bring individual gifts and talents to the world, we collectively share in the bringing of this gift. In my talk, I spoke about what hope means in Christian terms (which is something very different from optimism and simply looking on the bright side) and what it means for us as Christians to be beacons of hope.