(This is the first of the series of the Advent, which is composed of four paintings and reflection.)
On of the Chinese character for hope is 望. Chinese pronunciation for the character is wàng and Korean pronunciation is mang.
望 means hope, or to look toward, and this character, with its variant form 朢, which also shares the same pronunciation, also has a meaning of a full moon.
When we look at the history of how the character was developed, we can see that its origin was a pictogram that involved an eye and a form of a person standing on a high ground. Thus, it came to mean “to look at” and “to look forward to”. When 月(the moon) on the upper right hand corner was added it came to signify the full moon and “to hope”.
As we can see from the etymology of the character 望, hope involves two ways of seeing the moon: to look at (observe) and to look forward to (anticipate). In other words, according to the composition of the character 望, hope is to stand on a hill to see the moon observing how it is at its fullness and anticipating what will come of the future. We all know from our own observation what follows a full moon. The full is destined to wane, at least until it will start fattening up again.
Now with an insight of how the character 望 came to signify hope, we can understand hope with another layer of meaning. To have hope is to take an assessment of the present and to anticipate that the future holds both the blessing and the inevitable hardships. In other words, to have hope is to hold ground—as a person standing upright on a higher ground with eyes wide open toward the moon—and anticipate the good is soon to be realised.