Thursday, December 2, 2010
My Hope for Christmas
Things I have hoped for at Christmas, at least what I can remember, in roughly chronological order:
An air rifle (aka a BB gun).
A Roman chess set. With Caesar Augustus as king, Livia as queen and Cicero as the bishop; I received it when I was 14 and I still have it.
A date, when I was grounded. It is a no-go for Christmas, but my father granted me a two-hour reprieve for New Year’s Eve.
Escape. I don't recall why I wanted this at Christmas of my senior year of college.
Then I got married. My favorite first-Christmas-together present was a sweater shirt from a store named Butch Hoffer’s at the new mall in Beaumont, Texas. And Harvest Home by Thomas Tryon. And Give Us This Day by R.F. Delderfield. And getting to read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy for the second time.
Later, Christmas with children (my hope was always for a new Lego set) (for the children, of course).
But hope is not a word I’ve used in a long time, at least when associated with Christmas. I don’t so much hope for Christmas – for a particular present, or even world peace. Instead, as I’ve gotten older and know far less than I did when I was younger, I’ve come to see hope at Christmas as something that is, and something that will be.
Hope is the birth of the Christ child. Nothing in human history has so symbolized and realized hope as the birth of the Christ child.
Hope is the death of that Christ child some three decades later. Nothing in human history has so changed the future as that crucifixion on Golgotha.
Hope is the resurrection of that crucified man three days later. The Romans could be brutal in how they punished and killed, and little brutality was spared on that man. He was the first and only man to live to tell what happened.
Hope is the promise, not of happiness or wealth or power or prestige, but of a shared suffering, of a servanthood to others, and, ultimately, of joy.
Hope will become when he comes again, at an hour of his own choosing.
And when he comes, then hope will reign in person as it now does in spirit.
That is my hope for Christmas.
Bonnie Gray at Faith Barista is hosting a blog carnival on faith. To see other posts on hope for Christmas, please visit her site.
Photograph: Christmas Tree by Anna Cervova via Public Domain Pictures. Used with permission.