Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas

For me, the whole Christmas season can be summed up in one word: Hope.  Most of us possess hopes for our family members and loved ones, hopes for ourselves, and even hopes for total strangers.  We hope that family members and loved ones will be spared major difficulty, and spared the struggles of poor health.  We hope our own lives will have meaning and success.  We hope the plight of those less fortunate than ourselves might be made easier, and that the oppressed will find the freedom of self determination.

The birth of Jesus raised many hopes, as well.  For centuries, the prophets foretold the coming of the one who would change our entire world.  At last, at his birth, could those hopes actually become reality?  Too quickly, the events of his life passed, and we were then left with the hope of his coming, again.  The world was changed, but not in the way that most would have expected, nor in the way many had hoped.

Christmas, for me, is always a reminder that hope is not something we have, but something we do.  By that I mean we would not be celebrating in the true spirit of Christmas if all we did was to sit around hoping for change.  Hope inspires courage.  We need to get involved, to do the things that bring hope and joy to others, and invite others to do the same.  That is what Jesus did, and that is just what so many others do.  I am never disappointed.  Every year during this season I hear stories like the disabled person raising $600,000.00 for charity, or little children who raise $6.00.  I see Salvation Army kettles jammed with cash.  I see families reconciled, at least for the moment, and people who go out of their way to help out total strangers.

While it is a holiday, it is the holiday we spend wanting to do things for other people.  It gives me hope that people are capable of doing the right things.  It gives me hope we can do anything by working together.   It gives me hope in a better tomorrow.  It always reminds me to do my part.  Personally, I also believe it is what Jesus, whose birthday we celebrate, would have hoped we would do.  May God bless all those who bring the gift of hope to others, through their acts of kindness, and through their acts of courage.

Merry Christmas!!

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