HOPE for the Holidays

Edwin Copeland
HOPEIt is easy to understand things in terms of their opposites. For instance, we know light because we know darkness. We know cold because we know hot. We know peace because we know unrest, and we know unrest because we know peace. Similarly, we know hopelessness because we know we know what hope feels like.

Where is hope?

If we survey our lives for just a moment, we can easily find clear, tangible areas where we’re not experiencing peace and are longing for hope. Turn on the TV and watch five minutes of the local news and you’ll clearly see that our community is in a state of unrest – longing for peace, searching for hope. Homelessness, hunger and poverty are just a few that come to mind.

And then, Christmas comes

Give yourself a moment, and let your mind wander back to when you were a child. Do you remember that anticipation of Christmas day? Do you remember restlessly tossing and turning in your bed as your heart filled with anxiety for the coming day? Do you remember watching as the presents began to be put under the tree, wondering what was in each wrapped box with your name on it? Remember that childlike hope and wonder of the good that was to come?

A blue Christmas

However, over the years, the joyous anticipation of Christmas quickly turns into anxiety, fear, worry, and, for some, hopelessness. The old dreams of Christmas day and presents under the tree turn to thoughts like, “Can I afford to give my children the gifts they’re asking for?” “I wonder if I can pay next month’s rent?” and, “How am I going to face my family after all the hurt and pain I’ve bottled up throughout the year?” Or, “I just wish my family where here so I wouldn’t have to be alone.”

It’s during the Christmas season that our longing for peace is best displayed. For many, Christmas – and all it represents – puts their pain, their fears and their anxieties on a giant neon billboard that stares at them every time they look into the mirror of their hearts. Depressed yet? Don’t worry, the story doesn’t end here.

We are not alone

For Christians, Christmas, more than any other holiday, reminds us that we are not alone. In the midst of our broken and chaotic world, a child in a manger was born. His name? Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace – Jesus. Jesus is the reason our carols sing of peace on earth and hope for all mankind. Through the manager, God began his plan of redemption – to set the whole world back to the way it was intended to be. Through the manger, we find our calling to be a people of peace, filled with the hope of a world to come.

Christmas is God’s yearly whisper of hope; his gentle reminder that whether we walk to the right or to the left, there will always be a voice behind us saying, this is the way, walk in it (Isaiah 30). Let this Christmas be a time where you live out the peace and hope the manger brings. You don’t have to look far to find a person, an organization, or a cause that needs you and a reminder that they too are not alone.

If you’re wondering how to help the fight against child and family homelessness, check out thelittlechristmashouse.org and consider bringing your church, school, or business alongside HOPE South Florida’s Little Christmas House. This simple and easy project is our way of bringing hope to the over 150 families who will find themselves needing crisis shelter and a reminder that they are not alone this Christmas season.

We all have spare change laying around the house. Why not turn that change into housing for homeless children and families, or encourage the little people in your life to contribute their allowance during the holiday season to help kids just like them? It’s simple! All you have to do is get a house, fill it up, and drop it off!

From all of us at HOPE South Florida, Merry Christmas.

Edwin Copeland serves as the Vice President of Community Engagement for HOPE South Florida. Edwin can be reached at ecopeland@hopesouthflorida. Read more articles by Edwin Copeland at: goodnewsfl.org/author/edwincopeland/


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