Hope a val­ued com­mod­ity

The News (New Glasgow) - - FAITH & COMMUNITY - John Dun­nett Rev. John Dun­nett is pas­tor of First Bap­tist Church in New Glas­gow and a reg­u­lar con­trib­u­tor to Faith for To­day.

“As a Christ fol­lower, my hope is an act of op­ti­misti­cally trust­ing in the per­son, the prom­ises and the spirit of Je­sus as I step into the un­known of each day. While hope is a val­ued com­mod­ity, who I hope in is even more im­por­tant to me. I live with hope be­cause of that baby born cen­turies ago. I live with hope be­cause God be­came one with us so that we can live in one­ness with Him.”

Hope is es­sen­tial to the Christ­mas sea­son. For many of us, our ear­li­est mem­o­ries are of the things we hoped were wait­ing un­der the tree.

As we have aged and be­come more glob­ally aware we have songs of hope for peace and pros­per­ity for all hu­man­ity. Yes, hope is es­sen­tial to the mes­sage of Christ­mas.

This sea­son is the story of the birth of Je­sus who is Im­manuel (God with us). His birth was an­nounced with the words of “peace on Earth and good will to mankind” (Luke 2:14).

Matthew’s gospel records that Je­sus in the one who’s name is the hope of the whole world (Matthew 12:21).

Have you ever no­ticed how Christ­mas car­ols speak of hope; “The thrill of hope,” “the hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.”

Then there is the Henry Wadsworth Longfel­low’s poem writ­ten in the heat of the Amer­i­can Civil War. “I heard the Bells on Christ­mas Day.” This song re­flects the hope of the an­cient story, the de­spair of his cur­rent cir­cum­stances and yet the hope that is still to be found in the Christ­mas story.

Hope is an im­por­tant part of the Christ­mas story and it is be­com­ing a val­ued com­mod­ity as we con­tinue into the un­known of the 21st cen­tury. As we are now al­most 18 years into the 21st cen­tury, it is be­com­ing read­ily ap­par­ent that hope will be a val­ued com­mod­ity that al­lows peo­ple to thrive in the years ahead.

From 2014 to 2017 the Hope & Op­ti­mism pro­ject in­vested $2 mil­lion in stud­ies to iden­tify ways to help pro­duce hope­ful peo­ple in child­hood, par­ent­hood, re­la­tion­ships and end of life.

A good work­ing def­i­ni­tion of hope is “an op­ti­mistic trust­ing step into the un­known.”

Busi­ness looks for those who can live with this creative courage called hope. Ed­u­ca­tors have tried to fa­cil­i­tate this en­ergy of hope in the lives of their stu­dents. Cou­ples forge a new iden­tity in mar­riage bravely step­ping to­gether into the un­known. They wel­come chil­dren into this world with an op­ti­mistic trust­ing step into the un­known.

Peo­ple face the un­cer­tainty of the end of life and need hope. Somehow we know that this hope­ful into the un­known of the fu­ture is im­por­tant to us in all as­pects of life.

As a Christ fol­lower, my hope is an act of op­ti­misti­cally trust­ing in the per­son, the prom­ises and the spirit of Je­sus as I step into the un­known of each day. While hope is a val­ued com­mod­ity, who I hope in is even more im­por­tant to me. I live with hope be­cause of that baby born cen­turies ago. I live with hope be­cause God be­came one with us so that we can live in one­ness with Him.

This Ad­vent at our church we will look at four key in­di­vid­u­als in the pro­gres­sion of his­tory as God pre­pared for the ar­rival of Im­manuel (God with us). Each re­veals an im­por­tant place where we need hope in our lives to­day. We are ex­plor­ing hope in the lives of Abra­ham, David, Jeremiah and Joseph.

Th­ese men are key as they are high­lighted in Matthew 1:17 where God calls Matthew to sum­ma­rize the past and point to the one who was com­ing and who’s name would be the hope of all the world (Matthew 12:21).

This Christ­mas I wish you hope for 2019. I hope that you be­come very aware of the deep mean­ing of the Christ­mas story. I want to en­cour­age you to con­sider op­ti­misti­cally trust­ing in Je­sus as you step into the un­known of the year to come.

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