Despite what a strange year it’s been, Christmas always makes me feel hopeful. It’s the promise of something that has been, something that is, and something that is yet to come.
I always think of the Christmas story. That one bright, shining star. That star was hope.
Do you know what stars are made of?
Hydrogen and helium. The two lightest elements.
Do you know what stars do? They burn. Stars shine because they burn.
I’m not one to think God and science are at odds. That star, “thy perfect light,” isn’t a coincidence, and that star wasn’t just meant to be a pretty light or the cherry on top of a tree.
Hope is sometimes levity. It lifts us up when gravity is a lot. It cups our chin in its hand and tilts our faces towards the sky, pointing us back to wonder; bringing us home.
Hope sometimes burns. It creates an ache, a longing for things to be set right, and those feeling reminds us, despite our protests to the contrary, that we haven’t given up after all. Not even a little.
A star wouldn’t be its brilliant self if it weren’t burning. Hope wouldn’t be hope without that slight ache, the breathlessness of running towards something still out ahead of us.
Something, no- someone, that was, and is, and is still to come.
Over the past few years, my lofty ideals about peace, love, and hope have been turned on their heads. Peace can be disruptive, love hurts sometimes, and hope, for all its lifting, can burn. Jesus knew. He knew all of it, and he came for us anyway. For peace, for love, for hope. For us and our messy lives.
Merry Christmas, friends. Whatever feels hollow, whatever seems too cold and too gray this season, may it be filled with the brightest light, and white-hot hope.