By Pat Cummings
The busy holiday season is here. The cooking, the baking, the shopping, the giving, the getting is all in full swing. And in the middle of all of that, I want to take time to remember the hope that was provided when the long awaited Messiah came as promised. He came for the hopeless. He came for the hurting. He came for the broken. He came for the imprisoned. He came for the homeless. He came for the childless. He came for those going through life alone. He came for the poor. He came for the rich. He came for anyone. He came for everyone.
In Luke 4:18-19 (MSG), Jesus reads from Isaiah that “he was chosen to preach the Message of good news to the poor, announce pardon to prisoners and recovery of sight to the blind, to set the burdened and battered free, to announce, This is God’s year to act!” It sounds to me that the Messiah was chosen to bring hope.
Romans 8:34 (MSG) reminds us of this. “…The one who died for us – who was raised to life for us!- is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us.” The awaited Messiah who brought hope to earth is in the presence of God sticking up for us! Wow. That sounds pretty hopeful doesn’t it?
Here are just a few ways I’ve witnessed hope recently in my work, at church and in everyday life. It’s in the person who is depressed finding a reason to go on. It’s in the person who finds acceptance in the new stage of life they have entered. It’s in the person who hears the Good News for the first time and the Holy Spirit speaks what needs to be heard and the gift of the Messiah is accepted. It’s in the smile and the conversation with the stranger who needed someone to take time out of their day to acknowledge their existence. It’s in the meal that was provided. It’s in the person who experienced trauma decades ago that has found healing. It’s in the one who surrendered what was holding them down and found freedom when their chains were broken. It’s in the deliverance of the person out of darkness into the light. It is in the person stepping outside their comfort zone to have an impact on a foster child. It is in the person who keeps hope alive through worship poured out to God when life keeps knocking them down. It’s in the person who sacrifices so others can have their basic needs met.
I can’t help but think of this time of year as a reminder of the promised hope that was delivered to us. Hope is one of the most important gifts we can receive and give. It is the season of hope!