A Living Hope
Living hope is one that won’t end. A hope that sees us through the worst and one that appears even when not expected or prayed for. We need that hope to get us through life: those days ahead. It is very easy for despair to arrive when this shinning hope disappears. This we don’t want. So the belief in and trust in hope, a living hope is essential.
Ah you say, but I don’t have this. Where can I find it? And that is the difficulty. We have been conditioned or conditioned ourselves and our society, into a state where there is very little hope. Or we seek answers from those we think might be able to provide it. We look to film and music stars, listening to their words and seeing their actions. We see and hear less than we had hoped for. Or we look to politicians to offer something. But they only offer temporary relief which disappears with the first political scandal or economic downturn. There is no magic in the political world, and certainly not this lasting, living hope we seek. Constitutions and “Charters of the People” are similarly looked to as the panacea of society. These are well word crafted and espouse the best ideals of humankind. But like all documents they are only as good as those who live by them. They are, after all, a societal contract and are frequently broken. Good intentions are not enough to bring hope.
So if hope is not in any of these then where do we find them? Some look to institutions and organizations such as clubs, relief agencies and churches. These often have a created mission statement. These in turn help the people belonging to them to remember what the purpose is. People need reminding of course. They encompass the ideals that should lead to a sense of good will and purpose with integrity. But again, if not lived fully is there any hope therein?
Some people have pinned their hopes on an individual and been terribly disappointed by betrayal in the human-ness of this person. How often has a husband or wife let down the other? How often a priest or pastor disappoints? All are human. Too human at times. “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Romans 3, 23).
Then hope does not come from these documents or individuals. Living hope can only come from one who is truly living. Only God provides a living hope. And that hope in Jesus is the reason for Christmas, without whom we would simply have another secular, mid-winter holiday. “Happy Holidays” and “Seasons Greetings” give little hope. Whereas Happy Christmas or Merry Christmas (depending on your geographic location) does reflect hope, joy, and peace found in the Christ-child exclusively.
“Advent is concerned with that very connection between memory and hope which is so necessary to man. Advent’s intention is to awaken the most profound and basic emotional memory within us, namely, the memory of the God who became a child. This is a healing memory; it brings hope. It is the beautiful task of Advent to awaken in all of us memories of goodness and thus to open doors of hope.”
So if you still don’t know where to find it, find living hope this Christmas and every day of the year in the Christ-child.
Happy Christmas to all of you, and may you indeed be blessed with living and lasting hope.