Monday, December 24, 2007

Messages of HOPE.


And now these three things remain;
Faith, Hope and Love

- 1 Cor. 13:13

This time each year, a plethora of sincere greetings are thrust forward, spilling out of lips by everyone one might meet on any given day. It’s a natural thing to do, why doesn’t it last all year long?

Messages of love and good cheer, along with messages of HOPE and joy, fill the media airwaves and cyberspaces. They are in hearty abundance, oozing from folks encountered upon during everyday journeys during this time of year, as are many messages and a hope for world peace to all mankind.

- Learn from yesterday, live for today,
for tomorrow.

This year the folks at “Focus on the Family” are attempting to convey messages of peace and goodwill like all others, though the simple word “HOPE” is the chosen running theme for this Christmas season, onward into the New Year of 2008. This designated theme is accompanied with a special pictorial image, that of a golden Christmas tree ornament hanging on a Christmas tree, with the word HOPE emblazoned on it’s center area. For the folks who subscribe to their free monthly magazine, a gifted enclosure fell out of the envelopes this month, a golden colored magnet with HOPE written over top in white cursive print. We happen to be a family with a stainless steel refrigerator, something of an obstruction when desiring to place something magnetic on it to remind us of something. So, here’s my magnet on the lap over my head at my computer to show all of you instead.

My HOPE magnet above my head as I type this post.

Each year about this time, a buzz begins to stir around our local communities, people become transformed with outward festive spirits and happy hearts, or at least it is a frame of mind that makes a difference in their outlook. All over folks are offering kind wishes to one another, even to perfect strangers. There is another kind of buzzing occurring alongside of the usual Christmas greetings and the real reason for the season, that of the upcoming brand new year directly ahead, one about to unfold when the clock strikes midnight on January 1st, 2008.

- Hope is not a dream but a way
of making dreams become reality.

For our family, welcoming a new year holds many things. It’s the new crisp calendar and day timer where monumental upcoming occasions are forwarded onto, emotions and HOPE for the new year stirring inside towards a terrific year over yonder.

There is always an emotional presence for most folks we speak with during this time of year, that of HOPE for the future, HOPE in all things important in life. This seems to be prevalent more and more as the years pass by, so many are experiencing hardships and so many are suffering greatly, yearning to kiss goodbye to the old, and hoping for a better year ahead.

Let your Hope keep you joyful,
be patient in your troubles,
and pray at all times.

- Romans 12:12

Admittedly there have been years in the past I’d personally like to erase on my own historical timeline, lousy years right from the get-go to its finish, ones we’d wish never happened at all. And then, there are those we can recount such an abundance of blessings, in mind, heart and soul. It’s difficult to even imagine erasing those sands of time which fell in our direct lines from the past. I suppose the sensational always make up for the bittersweet, and I also imagine it would be inconceivable to truly erase the rotten years, for we are made stronger by the bittersweet, the difficult, and the horrid.

Seemingly people triumph over areas of struggle, either within our very core, within our families, our neighborhoods, even within our communities at large. Yes, a new year offers much in the way of HOPE, it offers us new beginnings, rewind moments, optimistic ideals for the future, and an abundance of faith, which is “believing in things yet unseen” anyway, right?

Without faith, we can have no hope. Without hope, we have no faith. They are intertwined so closely, it would be difficult living without either one. There are times however when neither seem present in our lives, when our hearts sink into such a deep abyss’, we suddenly feel too weak to climb out of the sinking feeling to see above waters with a clear vision and can’t make precise judgments. In such times, it is within the murky waters before us where our true HOPE lays, the feeling of despondency and despair, perhaps that of a surrendering weightlessness. In all things, eventual dependence on something far greater than ourselves occurs. We all have those years my friend, we all have them.

As the days on the calendar tumble by, and it becomes time to flip over another page to a new month, until an entire year has been lived with plenty of possibilities along the way, something happens whether we are on board or not. Each moment, we hold a gift in our hands, an opportunity to cherish something everlasting and so immensely beautiful, but clearly - - - it’s a choice! Our lives are constantly being fashioned and tailored onto a unique canvas.

Our lives are like a canvas, with golden threads weaving through our tapestry of life, where unique and exquisite beauty are designed, invisible to us, though someday we will be able to behold it in a more tangible way. Until then, it remains unseen by the human eye, something like “believing in things yet unseen”. It’s a gift! It’s our life.

We behold the golden thread with those choices we make along the way, the roads we choose to wander down, and the peaks and valleys we may have to hike up from to see the beautiful landscape views from on high.

Yes, give me an ocean any day, a lovely and gentle reminder of the murky waters I’ve swam in and eventually climbed back onto the shores of - - the promising HOPE of things I just *had* to believe in for the future.

- May you have enough happiness to make you sweet, enough trials to make you strong, enough sorrow to keep you human, enough HOPE to make you happy.

Over the past years, when the clock has struck midnight and a new year is before me, I shut down my mind and open my heart to thank God for the past year, and humbly lay out all my prayer petitions for the intentions closest to my heart for a HOPEFUL tomorrow. This year will be no different than any other year, there is MUCH to continue praying about, and as the family grows and expands, there will always so many things to pray for.

Happy Birthday Colby!

As well, right smack on the first day of the freshest blessing of another year, we have a grandson who celebrates a birthday, our family’s “New Year baby”. Happy Birthday Colby ….may your upcoming special day be wonderful, and may the memories you gather with those who love you become unforgettable to you always.

Meanwhile, as another brand new year looms ever nearer, let us not forget that there is another promise for all mankind approaching imminently, beginning with the birth of a wee babe, offering an abundance of true HOPE to all mankind. Whatever your needs are at this time, however heavy hearted or happy hearted you may be, may you indeed find all the faith, hope and love you yearn for in the gift of the Christ child. And, may he cuddle and nudge you ever gently, and oh so closely, lingering near the nap of your neck, loving you with his unconditional goodness, always offering HOPE, and ever keeping you close to his heart.

- And indeed everything that was written long ago in the scriptures was meant to teach us something about Hope; from the examples scripture gives of how people who did not give up were helped by God.

- Romans 15:4

(My parents arrived to celebrate
Christmas with us this year, yeah!)

Merry Christmas! ...

from our family to yours!