Season of hope
Reader's letter - January 2005
As you read this letter the Christmas season will already be a thing of the past, and the New Year may well be with us; but I write with all of the prevailing atmosphere of this time of year - the jingling sounds of the piped carols and Christmas songs in our shops, the plethora of ‘must haves’ on display in the shop windows all around us, but most of all I still can wonder at and enjoy the faces of children as they look around and show their expectation - their hope - as ‘that day’ approaches.
And it is to the sense of Hope that I am drawn. By tradition, as we leave behind the presents and festivities of Christmas we in turn look to the future, to the New Year, and to all that it may bring. It is a time for new thinking, for those ‘resolutions’ that are so easily broken or discarded; but it is a time, too, for our hopes to take form.
Children quite naturally and easily subscribe to this idea. They hope for all those things they want, not only at Christmas but at all times, and the child’s sense of hope can be infectious. As adults we join them in their aspirations, albeit for rather different things and different reasons. But we all, at times, live in an atmosphere of hope.
So what hopes drive us as we enter this year? It depends where we are and what our perspective is, I suppose.
In a recent sermon at St Peter’s we were reminded of the huge importance of hope in the lives of those who suffer from incurable disease, and most of us will know of someone who is unwell, someone who needs the support of us or others as they hope and plan for recovery. Hope in that sense is, to a degree, dependent on support, or perhaps expertise, but the hope is very real nonetheless.
For those who live in other parts of the world from our own there are different forms of - and reasons for - hope. In Iraq and Palestine, the Ukraine, for example, elections lie ahead, and in them rest the hopes of many millions of people for their future. On our part, we hope for fair and free elections; for the people who are really involved their principal hope is probably just for these events to pave the way forward for them. The whole world looks on, and shares their hope.
Hope however is a very personal thing. What I or you may be hoping for may have no part in others’ thoughts. But our own hopes are real enough to us! It may be for something that we can aim to achieve in the days and weeks and months ahead; it may be for the opportunity to interact with others in some way; perhaps we hope that we can make good something that has gone wrong somewhere along the way.
As we enter the new year we face changes and challenges in the church and in our Parish and Deanery. Things are moving, and we feel uncertain, perhaps, about the future. We hope that we will not have to make change, that we can maintain all that we have - but life is rarely as uncomplicated as that. So we hope that it will all go well. And that depends not just on hope, though that is important, but also on us, on our active involvement and support where it is needed.
To hope is to be able to move forward, for ‘Hope’ is a futuristic word, it looks to what is before us. As we move on into 2005 may we all, in the true sense of the word, ‘Hope’ and work for each other, and for all.