During this year 2020, we all have seen many posts, satires, scary stories and cartoons displaying our anxiety as well as our dreams for a better tomorrow. I think the one word that stands out for me in all this turmoil is the simplest one, hope. When we imagine what the meaning of that little word hope might be for each of us, I think we could hear many interpretations.
Some think hope is best represented by the last golden leaves falling even while the new leaves of iris are poking their heads up through the soil – heralding a glorious spring to come,
Or an artist in front of a blank canvas picking up her paintbrush.
Or perhaps the frantic squirrels burying and reburying acorns and beechnuts – hoping that they will remember exactly where!
Hope is possibly the new vaccine on the horizon which will begin the process of healing for populations around the world.
Hope might be about the reentry of this country into international organizations which tackle common problems like food insecurity, economic inequity and climate change.
What about the cry of a newborn baby or the peaceful protest of black & brown voices, or noisy sparrows at the feeder outside my window,
Or just knowing the certainty of the monarch butterfly’s return migration?
Hope may be the promise of forgiveness in our hearts of all whose families have been torn apart by political rancor and violence.
Sometimes hope is as elusive as whisps of clouds signaling rain in parched lands or as determined as the belief our team can and will win the game.
Or it can be the reaction we have to a wonderous piece of music, the example of a stroke patient learning to walk again, or to the amazing feat of a rock climber on Half Dome.
Hope, like faith, is what we hold onto in times of trouble, … those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength; they will soar on wings like eagles. Isaiah 40:31
And hope can be found in the story of a child born in a humble manger during very turbulent times over two thousand years ago.