Listening to the soundtrack of the musical Wicked (graciously gifted to me by the generous Karen), I was struck at how the message of Pope Benedict's latest encyclical on hope connects to Galinda's "Couldn't be Happier." In a backhand sort of way, I mean.
Galinda, blithely singing, "Happy is what happens when all your dreams come true," hesitates more than once, looking for affirmation that, yes, indeed it is. But that affirmation doesn't come.
Here's Pope Benedict's take on it: "Young people can have the hope of a great and fully satisfying love; the hope of a certain position in their profession, or of some success that will prove decisive for the rest of their lives. When these hopes are fulfilled, however, it becomes clear that they were not, in reality, the whole. It becomes evident that man has need of a hope that goes further. It becomes clear that only something infinite will suffice..." (#30 of "Spe Salvi").
C.S. Lewis got it right in the title of his book, "Surprised by Joy." And that's the message of Advent, too!