Friday, December 02, 2016

Arise, Shine, in the Light of Hope!

When the light of hope dims and dies people, like flowers, fade and die. When the light of hope shines bright, people thrive and live. When people lose hope they may wither emotionally and spiritually, even before they waste away physically. But, when the light of hope is restored, the heart can heal.

Last Sunday—the First of Advent – those statements introduced my message. The Advent Candle signifying Hope had been lit and a brief reading presented. Hope­—a marvelous focus for introducing the Advent season culminating in Christmas and the celebration of our Saviour’s birth.
Either loss or absence of hope can sometimes be tied to the kind of values a person holds. For example, consider the stock market crash of October 1929 that kicked off The Great Depression of the 1930s. Thousands of wealthy people lost their fortunes overnight. The media reported a rash of suicides of those who, overwhelmed by deep anguish and utter despondency, cast themselves from office towers to smash on the streets below, while others jumped from bridges to perish in frigid waters.
It’s entirely possible that a good many of those souls had invested their hopes in the thing they valued most—their riches. News of their financial ruin was sufficient to plunge them into hopeless despair.
Often it was common folk who, although possessing little beforehand, showed great fortitude and resourcefulness, pressing through against all odds, rationing and sharing the little they had. Then similarly, in WWII, which followed.
They valued a work ethic and tackled the challenge of keeping their families alive. They valued life itself and expected themselves to do their best despite dire circumstances. Hope’s flame, though flickering, still shed light. Millions from across society crowded into churches to pray and renew their commitments to God.
Numerous factors may give rise to acts of suicide—each one tragic. However, we can note that monumental emotional pain, lack of hope and one’s feeling helplessly imprisoned in despair can result in his or her devaluing or undervaluing life.
Source: PrintShop

To what shall we liken hope? A light – even a small, flickering flame. A tiny seed invested in the ground. A tender shoot – its filamentary roots clinging to a crevice of the soul. A deposit made of the most valued thing surrendered.

Credit: Dreamstimes
Hope can be like a thought that becomes a gentle inspiration upon which to act. A word coming as a silent voice of persuasion, spoken in the heart. Hope can be a child – a birth that offers possibility of a new generation, joy and a future.
The eighth century BC prophet Isaiah sent a clarion call cascading through time that was in part fulfilled in the birth of Jesus:

Credit: Print Shop
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6 NIV2011).

“Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you.” (Isaiah 60:1NIV2011).
Isaiah declared God’s message of hope in the midst of gathering gloom in Old Testament Israel. Many had forsaken their trust in the Lord God and had lost their moral and faith compass, while foreign powers threatened them.

Then and now, those who invest and maintain their trust in Father God and embrace the message that in the promised Messiah / Christ the Light of God comes to them, His glory – honour  and favour – rises upon them.
Let us embrace Jesus Christ our Light and let His Light of Hope fill our hearts and embrace us.

Peter A. Black lives in Southwestern Ontario. He writes a weekly inspirational newspaper column, P-Pep! and is author of Raise Your Gaze ... Mindful Musings of a Grateful Heart, and Parables from the Pond.


David Kitz said...

Shine on me and through me Lord Jesus. Thanks for your hope-filled words, Peter.

Glynis said...

I LOVE this post, Peter. Not sure if it's because I am contemplating a story about suicide or the beautiful picture you paint of HOPE. Absolutely well said and thoughtful. Mum and Dad often spoke of the rationing that they had to do during WWII. I understand a little.

And this is so wise: 'When the light of hope is restored, the heart can heal". May I tweet that with this link, please? I think it quite profound and true!

Peter Black said...

Thank you David and Glynis. And yes, be completely free to use that little thought, Glynis. May God bless lives and prosper the thoughts He gives us as we write and post here and elsewhere.~~+~~

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