The Marvelous Spirit of Hope!
The spiritual Hope of the Christmas season is indescribable.
As we surrender to the anticipation of the arrival of the Christ Child, we are moved.
The soul stirs.
The pulse quickens.
Hearts are soothed by this powerful unguent.
Like the perfect gift, we receive it year after year. Knowing the story line only makes it all the sweeter.
We wrap ourselves in the cloak of the Eternal.
Yet we know there is another side to the Christmas season.
At this tender time of the year, we sense loss more keenly.
You see the chair at the dinner table, empty now because a young life was tragically cut short.
You go to share news with a friend and remember there’s no one there to answer.
Lost dreams, lost relationships.
Loneliness echoes down empty corridors.
In the midst of our pain, we imagine that everyone else is celebrating in the style of a Norman Rockwell illustration. Perfect in every way.
Yet, from my reading, Norman Rockwell’s life was not as portrayed in his art. He was divorced early on, was widowed suddenly and, along with his third wife, suffered depression most of his life. Perhaps, he, too, yearned for the life he so magically created on paper.
If we embrace the spiritual Hope of Christmas, we will, in a sense, keep our eyes focused on the eastern sky.
We can appreciate but not be distracted by pine trees, twinkling lights, bright ribbons and rustling tissue paper. When all is said and done, the last pine needles are swept out, and the lights are stored away for yet another year, our Hope remains.
“The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the One and Only Son, Who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14.
I invite you to join me in embracing that Hope that connects us to the Eternal Father and experience that holy Gift that truly never stops giving.
Lord, the twinkling Christmas tree lights remind us that Christ is The Light in the darkness. Let us draw from that eternal hope to look beyond ourselves and to be Your hands and feet on earth. Amen.