Hope is the watering hole for humanity. There isn’t one single life on the planet not gathered around it, thirsty for more.
It transcends any station in life. Man or woman, rich, poor, smart and not so smart, beautiful or plain, faithful or faithless. It ignores politics. None of these things matter. We all want hope, and like water, we literally can’t live without it.
Hope takes on the shape of the life who seeks it.
It’s the mom who weeps over her children for a better tomorrow, when the better today fails. It’s the father desperate to put two paychecks together to feed a family, or to pay a rent he can’t afford. It’s a parent whose child is lost in the world of addictions, captured by demons known only to themselves. It’s the jobless, frantic for an honest wage. Or it’s a spouse, where no amount of love seems to rescue the anger. Or, that someday there will be a spouse.
The world is filled with the poor, desperate for just the barest essentials who hope for more. It’s also filled with the prosperous and very rich, desperately hopeful for something that their prosperity can’t buy. And the world is also filled with the average and happy, hoping that no misfortune waits in the days ahead that will take it all away.
Numbers can’t count the physically broken, those that hope that a lump is benign, or that the sickness that grips a loved one passes, or that the event that made a healthy life a wasting one, will pass. Or those that are desperate for a quick release from this life’s pain, hoping on the next.
Hope is the anticipation for something that isn’t, but you want to be. This is why lots of very smart people will tell you that “hope isn’t a plan.” I disagree. I think hope is the plan.
We‘re told in ancient Words that ‘in the beginning,’ there was no need for hope. The first man and the first woman lived in a perfect relationship in a perfect place – there was nothing to hope for. They lived in a perfect relationship with each other and with the loving God who fashioned them in His own image. And, He gave them the ultimate gift of free will.
However, beguiling Evil seduced them into believing the lie that they didn’t need perfect, they needed to live as they chose, not as they were made to live.
Hope was born out of that earthly rebellion.
This is why Christmas is so important. It’s why Christmas and its hope has, and will, outlive the naysayers, the atheists, the authoritarians that attempt to banish it, and the faithless that mock it. It will even survive the materialism and commercialism that seeks to profit by it.
Christmas will live because it is the hope granted by the Eternal to those who swallowed the lie, who thought that the human race could manage, build and control their own destiny and the trajectory of their environment. And still do.
This Christmas Hope is that regardless of our circumstance, our health, or the confounding relationships that envelop our lives, or the ways of nations, that there is an Everlasting Peace and Promise that we can know. It’s a bidding Hope. It works its way into the nooks and crannies of everything that is, commanding even the kings of earth to bow.
Hope. Everlasting Hope. It was a hope spoken to the ancient Hebrews, born outside of the human curse, realized in a stable in a small village in the pathway of civilizations, in the grip of the great Empire of Rome. Anonymous to men but announced from the gates of Heaven itself.
Hope. Everlasting Hope. Appearing as a man, living and dying in total contradiction to everything we can know about human nature. Saying sublime, yet hard Words that ring down the staircase of history that change men, societies and empires, one way or another. Words that still enrage the hardened, or enrich the wise. Words that convict, or words that save.
Christmas reminds us of why we Hope.