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Saturday, December 24, 2016

Beacons of Hope


Joyce Sasse, Spiritual Gleanings - At the darkest time of the year, Christmas is a celebration of light ... And that light is shared with the whole community. What a gift!

Carolers sing “the hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight”. Those who prophecy declare that God cares enough to dwell among us. Storytellers speak of weary travelers searching for a place where the woman can deliver her child. Those who laud the newborn child include creatures of the field, angels from the heavens, astrologers from distant places, and local townsfolk.


Several years ago, religious journalist Tom Harper and his wife re-enacted the journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem. They soon learned that the political, military, economic and social barriers they had to face differed little from what Joseph and Mary faced twenty centuries earlier.

In the intervening time Empires have conquered and been conquered; nature’s resources have been used for purposes of ravaging and for purposes of enhancing life; economic pariahs have plotted to reduce people to work-units, and countless individuals have given themselves over to re-building societies that are based on principles of striving for the common good.

There have been many eras of darkness. And dark times will happen again.

But Christmas and Hanukkah lights that sparkle at the darkest time of the year are visible reminders that the smallest flame can become a beacon of hope.

The stories and the rituals that come with our faith traditions are precious reminders of how we have been given the capacity to rise above our fears, to reach out in times of loneliness, to find strength and courage to face incredible challenges.

Pause this Christmas. Name and give thanks for the beacons of hope that have touched you and helped you move forward into a new day.

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