Tuesday, December 07, 2010

"…which shall be to ALL people…"

Hope. That's a funny word, isn't it? In our language, at least, we use it a lot:

"I HOPE it doesn't rain on Saturday…"

"I HOPE I get this job…"

(And especially at this time of year)

"I HOPE these pants still fit…"

According to the handy-dandy dictionary widget on my computer, hope has a couple of different meanings. It can mean "a feeling of expectation, a desire for something to happen." I think that's what most of us, as relatively secure Americans, think of when we use that word.

But…there is another meaning. And I think it's more than appropriate at this time of year to remember it.

"A person or thing that might help to save someone."

On Sunday, our Pastor started a series entitled "Hope for the Holidays." And boy, did it ever seem to resonate with the congregation in both services (which I attended, and paid much attention to, as it was my turn to run the media computer.)

The angels who appeared to the shepherds in Luke 2 said some very important things: You don't have to be afraid, I bring you good news, and it's for ALL people.

(Oh no. The waterworks are about to start in 3, 2, 1…)

All people. ALL of them. Not just us, in our comfortable chairs in our heated sanctuaries, waiting to get out so we can be the first in line at Qdoba after church.

The single mom, who is working three jobs to put food on the table. The middle-aged man, sitting in a bar drowning his sorrows in the bottom of the glass. The junkie about to shoot up one more time, who can't even put food on the table because his habit is so all-consuming.

ALL people.

The people in Haiti, who nearly a year after a devastating earthquake are still living in tent cities, afraid to drink the water for fear they will contract a deadly disease. The folks in war-ravaged African nations, afraid to vote because of the riots that will soon follow. The Muslim living in the Middle East, who feels a longing in his soul for something more.

ALL people.

The only, only hope any of these people have is Jesus. He fits that second definition up there, except He's THE person who will save someone. That's the Good News that the angels brought, to a world which wasn't much different than the one we live in now: wars, high taxes, social unrest. Good news. Hope. For all people.

That single mom? She can only do so much on her own. That junkie can get clean, but even secular treatment programs advise reliance on a "higher power." The poverty stricken in our country and around the world have no hope, in this world or the next, without Him.

Hope. It's resonating in my soul today.

Lord, let me spread your hope to those who need it most.