In times when we are “up against it,” when all we have left is hope, what can hope really do?
Epiphany means manifestation, the reality of a thing coming into being. The Magi saw the Star in the heavens as the light of Hope—hope that a new life, a new world was possible. This light led them to the true light that enlightens all things, and the Christ has been shinning into the hearts of people everywhere ever since.
All too often, what we call “hope” is actually desperation, the speaking of a word in a time of fear or confusion that is little more than a place holder. Our “hope” is not founded on love or light, but a product of hard times or selfish ambition. I’m sure you’ve seen some of the funny memes, Facebook posts, even newspaper cartoons bidding a humorous goodbye and “good riddance” to the year 2020, to make room for the hope of a brighter new year. There were even Christmas Cards and printed sentiments circulating to that effect since during these times, when I can’t exactly wish you “JOY!” at the holiday, or merriment or happiness or health or any of life’s blessings so often taken in stride and taken for granted, “Hope” this season came to be what we had left to share and extend to one another. Hope for the vaccine. Hope for a return to health and an end to a year-long and worldwide pandemic. Hope for a peaceful transfer of power. Hope for social harmony. The list goes on and soon includes more personal, detailed, and daily hopes for the relationships and realities of our lives; we yearn and hope for all of it. How much more profound is the manifestation of Christ to our everyday lives when we embrace His light and find His Hope!
As people of Christ, Jesus coming into our hearts plants divine Hope which can be manifested in our lives once we embrace the indwelling Holy Spirit. Independent of fear and lightyears from desperation, Divine Hope propels us beyond doubt to joy and the revelation of God with us.
We celebrated the turn of the calendar to 2021 with many discouraging events in our lives: the pandemic, political confusion, social unrest, economic strife, and our own personal issues. Today, perhaps more than ever, we need to follow the light of Divine Hope that God has given us through Jesus. Certainly, the Hope of a life eternal with God, but also to recognize and follow the light of Divine Hope that shines through the worst of the times we live in. This Divine Hope brightens our days because it brightens our spirits. We can be filled with joy knowing that below the fear and desperation is the true foundation of our lives: God, overflowing with love and compassion and speaking our name.
I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. John 15:11
Father Bill Burk†