The seasonal valley we are entering promises to darken around us. The absence of light will send many into depression. We, along with those around us, are concerned about so many things. Steely fear stings us deep within, sending a lump to our throats and causing our eyes to squint in suspicion of our neighbor. Who can we trust?
Yet, hope teeters on the horizon. Perhaps the sun will not set behind the dark peak, but find an opening where rocky cliffs fall to the sea? Perhaps we will have light to guide us the rest of our way?
It is human to hope. It is human to fear.
One of my favorite Christmas songs is O Little Town of Bethlehem. We sing The hopes and fears of all the years are met in Thee, tonight. In these lines we read again the juxtaposition of hope and fear. The meeting place for these two? What is the location of their coming together? Christ.
And what will be the outcome of the clash? Which will prevail: hope or fear?
You tell me. Conquering foes ruled his homeland. Political division was rampant. The religious elite abused the poor, and held them at arm's length from faith. No one even noticed--and no wonder--when the helpless infant was born to illegitimate parents staying in some animal shelter. The only ones who caught on were some stargazers from another nation and religion, and a few ruffians at the bottom of the pay-scale camping out and watching sheep. Hope? (I've often thought that God could have used a marketing agency.)
And so we enter the holidays shadowed by long shopping lists and in fear of the worsening economy. We grieve loves we've lost, and long for something more. Religion is offering little direction and politicians are only heightening our fears that no one cares about anything but power. Somewhere an unobtrusive God is hiding in an unsuspected location. And our chore is to find the Christ.
Don't bother asking the kings, or the spiritual elite.
Perhaps he's living amongst the poor? (Matthew 25:40 & 45)