The Christmas season is a message of hope for all
We all know the story.
A distant government orders the census of a conquered land so that taxes may be assigned.
The young mother, great with child on a difficult journey.
No room in the inn and instead a manger for a bed. The birth of the “Wonderful Counselor,” the “Prince of Peace,” the culmination of the prophecies of Isaiah 9:6-7.
Over the past two millennia the story of Christ’s birth has been embellished as the word spread across oceans and continents.
Over the centuries, new cultures assimilated the story of the babe in the manger and all that has meant to mankind into their traditions, adding to the celebration of the birth of the savior.
Stripping away the choirs of angels, the shepherds, the wise men, the brass horns and even the Christmas lobster, the story of the nativity of Christ is a story of hope. It is the story of a spark of light that glows brightly in the darkest of times and which calls each of us to follow its light.
The light of hope is something our communities, our nation and our world desperately needs. We need the annual reminder that no matter how dark things become, there is always hope.
In the cold and cloudy darkness of winter, it is easy to lose hope. When you see the news of people killed and communities ripped apart by storms, it is easy to lose hope. When those whose calling is to lead and unify, instead bicker, fight and divide, it is easy to lose sight of the light.
This is especially true as another year of COVID-19 restrictions puts a damper on many people’s holiday plans and our medical professionals and hospital workers struggle to stand up under the ongoing strain of dealing with full beds, sickness and death. Day by day, the hours of darkness grow longer, and the future doesn’t seem to offer anything but more of the same.
In the darkness we stumble. In the darkness even the smallest obstacle becomes an unclimbable mountain. In the darkness we are all alone.
“The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light; they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.” (Isaiah 9:2) The Christmas story of hope speaks to us all. Whether you are a believer, celebrating the birth of the savior, or someone who thinks it is just a nice story to tell children, it is important to remember that the message of Christmas is a message that things will get better and we cannot lose hope no matter how cold and dark the night seems to be.
Tomorrow the sun will shine a few moments longer, and the day after that a few moments more. Astronomically this is a certainty, something that can be measured and studied. What is less quantifiable, but equally as important, is that knowing the darkest days are behind allows people to endure the challenges that await us on our journey forward.