So it's the day after Christmas and I'm feeling a little let down. I turned on the radio this morning and Rhianna's 'Umbrella' was playing instead of Karen Carpenter's 'I'll be Home for Christmas'. The tree yesterday that was brimming with metallic wrapped presents and glittery bows hiding treasures untold, now holds boxes of gifts I have yet to find a home for. The cupboard is bare which means I must now venture out once again to the grocery store to restock our pantry post Christmas feasts. It's a beautiful sunny yet chilly day here in San Antonio, and yet I know so many are bearing the brunt of an arctic blast that has swept across the nation. And the latest issue of Time magazine sits on the end table, covered with 27 beautiful innocent faces whose amazingly bright futures were cut tragically short. Inside, small paragraphs that cannot begin to tell their stories or ease their familys' suffering. I have struggled with what to write for several weeks now...struggled to put into words something that might be of value to our readers. And this past Sunday, our pastor, John Hagee, ended a three week sermon series with a message that definitely seems apprapro (is that even spelled right?) today more than ever. It was a message of hope. The bible verse that was the foundation for this message? Psalm 43:5. "Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God." So many of you are fighting the good fight right now. Some of you may have spent your Christmas in a hospital with a loved one, or been apart from your loved one. For some of you, it may not have felt like Christmas at all. "It's the most wonderful time of the year" is so very true, when everything is like it should be. But so many times it's just not. Plain and Simple. And there's no amount of iced sugar cookies, fudge, Christmas lights, or presents that can change it. So, I feel this message is for you. Our pastor talked about the difference between hope and optimism, and made an interesting and key distinction. Optism is hoping that things are going to turn out right. Christian hope is faith looking at the promises of God. Holding on to God's promises even when other's might see a hopeless situation. And he said something else that I thought might be valuable to some of you: when you have no hope; it is as though you are slamming the door in the face of God. No one escapes suffering. Jesus didn't. We have to be able to have hope in the midst of our suffering. Hope sees the invisible. Hope feels the intangible. Hope believes the impossible. Pray to God: I don't understand what's going on here, but I'm going to trust that in the end, it's going to be okay. You're going to make it okay. There may be weeping in night, but joy comes in the morning. The sun will rise again. Put your hand in the hand of God and know that together you are more than you are facing.
Praying that you all had a Merry Christmas! Hang in there, you are going to be okay!