The Season of Hope

   Hope is the thing with feathers,                                                                               That perches in the soul,                                                                                                                    And sings the tune without the  words,                                                                                        And never stops at all. ~~ Emily Dickinsondove

Hope, that generous giver, never takes away; she only gives.  Hope is ever present; in the very darkest hour, hope takes our hand, and leads us gently on.

In this season, we see hope brightly displayed in the shining faces of children dressed up for Christmas concerts, in the faces of parents as they watch their precious little ones sing. It is the hope of Christmas morning, the expected surprise of unknown gifts. It is the hope of parents as they look forward to the arrival of faraway family on a Christmas Eve. Hope fulfilled is seen in the faces of those gathered around the table for that dreamed of Christmas dinner as family and friends rejoice in the fellowship of Christmas.

Humanists and agnostics, in this season of hope, cannot escape her tentacles. For, if they are not careful, those very tentacles will wrap gently but firmly around their hearts, pulling them into close relationship.  It will be difficult to keep from imagining the glory of the angels praising God, to keep from picturing the humble shepherds as they hurry to the manger, or the beauty of the young mother adoring her Son.

Careful unbeliever, hard and embittered by life. The very beauty of the Christmas story may soften your hardened heart and you may find yourself fully awakened. You may find yourself wanting…in need of peace, wondering…..hoping. You may find …… Him.

How wise of God, how truly wise, to send His Son in the form of a helpless babe, knowing we would forever be drawn to the story and in being drawn to the story,  be drawn to HIM. Who, knowing the story, does not imagine it; the cold winter’s night, the shepherds in the fields, the poor couple looking for a place to stay? There is Joseph, desperately in need of shelter for his young wife, and Mary, young, suffering in the beginning throes of labor, giving birth in the crude stable. We often picture a haven, comfy and cozy. The reality may not have been anywhere near that scenario, but it is comforting to us to imagine our Christ, our Messiah, swaddled tightly and held closely by His young mother. She is tired but happy, as new mothers are.

It is the story for which mankind longs…the low brought high, the helpless babe is the King of the world. He reigns in truth and justice, forgiving the penitent and punishing evil. In the end, every knee bows and all is revealed. It is the ending we all hoped and hope for, the first story ever written and the last that will ever be told. The Alpha and Omega.

Because of this, we hope, we know, we trust, we believe.  Hope, like a small bird, perches in our soul and keeps us warm in the promise that in the darkest, coldest night, or the raging storms of life, He is there. Hope, that unseen entity, full of power and ever present. Without hope, our hearts would break. With hope, we press forward, knowing…there was a small babe, a manger, a young mother, angels singing, shepherds kneeling. the Hope of mankind came to earth. 

It is the season of hope…. and hope does not disappoint. Rom. 5:4