With Christmas approaching and the current restrictions making life so difficult for so many, Rector of the Kilgariffe Union of Parishes, the Reverend Kingsley Sutton says we need to find and focus on what gives us hope.
As the winter evenings draw deepening darkness around us, what helps to give you hope in your life? Those who would normally look forward to Christmas are already feeling a loss due to the uncertainty being caused by the pandemic. ‘Zoom’ parties and ‘Zoom’ family gatherings seem a poor alternative to past festive cheer. We long for the warmth of Christmas hugs and kisses before sitting down to a memory making meal. Then again, for those prone to mental illness, Christmas is without doubt one of the hardest times of the year. There is not much worse than feeling miserable on the inside while pretending that all is well on the outside. Mandatory face coverings actually help to hide this from each other now. Whatever we are feeling on the inside, it’s likely to be a tough winter.
So, what’s the best advice I can give to you? Find out what gives you hope and kindle that fire within yourself. Maybe it’s sowing daffodil bulbs in the hope of spring; maybe it’s considering the birds and watching their migration patterns; maybe it’s a novel you love to read; maybe it’s planning for the future, a new job, a new home, a new car? What is your hope?
For me, my hope is found in the person of Jesus. Historically he lived on this planet and knew what it is like, along with its illnesses and injustice – yet he was not thrown by it nor was he left downhearted. He radiated life, love, and an irrepressible goodness. Sometimes I feel him near to me, but probably more times I don’t. My faith can rise and fall, but somehow, I still hold on to him. Maybe that’s because he is actually a part of me, inside me by his spirit, nearer than I can feel or imagine. I was baptised into him and am part of his body. Maybe it’s his faith that holds me, not mine.
So, what gives you hope in this life? Hold on to it and focus on it – kindle that fire so as to help you shine brighter against darkness. Bulbs, birds, books, new belongings and whatever your hope is, they are all blessings to behold. Hope springs eternal. To me, hope has a name – Jesus.
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