Each year I wait for inspiration for this Christmas reflection. This year the word that came to me was ‘hope’. Perhaps because it’s been an emotionally difficult year that I am called to examine this thing called ‘hope’. It is part of the 1 Corinthians 13:13 trinity of “faith, hope and love”. But I have found it difficult to define or understand. Perhaps it’s because, like the Holy Trinity of God, it can’t be separated out.
Hope is not wishful thinking. It’s not foolish optimism. Sometimes it’s hard to hold on to and sometimes our hopes are dashed on the rocks of life. It dies. And then it resurrects itself. Like Jesus, our Hope. I’m not sure how that happens. I have to go back to the inseparable unity of “faith, hope and love” – there is hope, sandwiched in the middle of ‘faith’ and ‘love’. The only place it can live.
When I looked for the definition of hope in the dictionary I found the expected and yet unsatisfying definitions. Until I came to the “archaic” definition: “to trust in or rely on”. Yes, hope springs eternal, as the saying goes, because of Who we trust in and rely on. My faith is in a great, powerful and eternal Love that daily resurrects itself in this world. My hope is not just in an outcome, though that is definitely part of it, but also in God, whose “love never fails” (1 Corinthians 13:8)
Christmas, the greatest birthday party in the world, celebrates hope. Miracles still happen, sometimes amazing ones and we love to hear those stories. But the greatest miracle and mystery will always be love. Love never fails, so hope lives on.
“A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices, for yonder breaks a new and glorious morn…….. O Holy Night, O Night Divine.”
May you be blessed this Christmas with a holy and divine Hope.
Written by Cathy Richard, parishioner