There are certain words that resonate in the heart of humanity, and foremost among them I suggest are Love, Joy, Peace, and Friend. Every heart aspires to Love: Agape’, self-sacrificing charity and goodwill; Joy: Gladness, good cheer, and rejoicing; Peace: Harmony, reconciliation, and calm; and Friend: One who demonstrates love (the Biblical meaning of friendship is not to be loved, but to love).
I propose one more word be added to our list of words that inspire the heart: HOPE. Hope is the hinge pin between abiding faith and agape’ love (1 Corinthians 13:13). Hope is in essence a lively, living expectation. Hope encourages. Hope rejoices. Hope inspires. Hope looks beyond suffering. Hope is confident in the face of trouble. Hope is tenacious.
HOPE was the gift that Mary received when she was told, “thou hast found favor with God [and will] conceive in thy womb…the Son of the Highest” (Luke 1:30-32). A message of HOPE revived Joseph’s troubled heart when he was told, “fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost” (Mt. 1:20). HOPE illuminated the darkness of a Bethlehem night when shepherds received the news, “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11).
I have observed the effects of hopelessness. Rob a man of hope, and you resign him to sorrow that invariably ends in death. Impart words of love, joy, peace, friendship, and HOPE, and you give a precious gift—LIFE.
You are invited to Hillsdale’s traditional Christmas Eve Candlelight Service, this Thursday, December 24, 6:00 PM. Though only an hour in length, this service is memorable as we enjoy the simplicity of carols, special music, and the beauty of an auditorium aglow with candlelight and fellowship.
COVID-19 Guidelines: 1) You are encouraged to sit together in family units. Children and teens should sit with their parents. 2) Please observe “social distancing” in the building. 3) Please limit fellowship in the Lobby.
With the heart of a shepherd,