Tuesday, December 25, 2012

The Hope of Christmas

We are living in times of much uncertainty. One can easily compile a depressing list of events demonstrating the uneasy state of our economy--from the housing market collapse, bank bailouts, high unemployment rate, to the current acrimonious partisan debates involving the 'fiscal cliff.' I would argue that for the first time in a couple of generations our country is seriously questioning the legitimacy and realistic attainment of the "American Dream." People are questioning their future, and whether their children will be better off than themselves. 

Then there a moments that happen that seem to rattle our collective consciousness. Paducah. ColumbineTuscon. Aurora.  The Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut a few days ago caused many folks to question what we've become as a society. The Newtown shooting was different, and would give many of us pause. The unimaginable massacre of so many innocent children, just days before Christmas, is horrifying and inexplicable. Cable news programs spent many hours and days analyzing the incident. Heated debates ensued about gun control, the 2nd Amendment, the NRA, and questions about why our culture has become so violent. 

In the aftermath of September 11th, 2001, our nation grieved deeply and sought answers. We sought comfort. In times of great loss and grief, people look for reassurance that humanity still has hope and meaning. It's as if, in the midst of our every day distractions, we are suddenly jolted back to reality. We are reminded of the fragile nature of life. And the reality of what's really important when faced with death and tragedy. 

I watched President Obama's speech at the prayer vigil in Newtown. He read scriptures from the Bible, and encouraged the families to "...find the strength to carry on and make our country worthy of their memory. May God bless and keep those we’ve lost in His heavenly place. May He grace those we still have with His holy comfort, and may He bless and watch over this community and the United States of America." Undoubtedly reassuring, comforting, and appropriate. 

In desperate times people look for reassurance, encouragement, and comfort. Christians view Christmas as the reminder of 'hope' for a lost and fallen world. There are, undoubtedly, times that we all question what we've become as a society. We really do live in troubling times. There may be fear, despondency, and trepidation of what tomorrow may bring. People worry about their future, and about their children's safety and well-being.  But for those who know their Redeemer liveth, there is hope. And the promise of a better time and place in which evil does not reign. A Savior was born, died, and was resurrected. He is the ultimate gift for humanity. Truly, the hope of Christmas.              


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I work for a Community-Based, Not-for-Profit agency. I have worked in the disability field for over twenty-five years. I am the father of two boys, and have been married to my teenage sweet-heart for 23 years. I live and work in the same town where I was born & raised.
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