Tuesday, 8 December 2009

When Hope Shall Sing of Triumph

There's been a lot of talk about hope and optimism these days. There is Hopenhagen, the movement that empowers global citizens to engage in the UN Climate Change Conference. Global warming is fast becoming a worldwide crisis, and millions of people all over the planet are hoping that the conference will produce concrete actions to tackle the problem head-on. There is hope yet that world leaders will come to their senses and rally to save this ailing world.

Then there is the Australian competition that has given the prize to 'One-ders' as the tag for the coming decade, because of its 'bright-eyed optimism'. Certainly this has been a tough decade to begin the millennium: terrorist attacks, wars, and the global financial crisis. There is hope yet that the coming decade (which actually begins in 2011, not 2010) will be a period of wonders rather than woes, especially with the comforting news in recent months that the world is beginning to pick itself up from the ashes of economic gloom.

I think all this talk of hope is very timely during this season of Advent in preparation for Christmas. The message of Christmas is, of course, a message of hope. Obama talked about the audacity of hope. I believe that what gives us that audacity is the unfailing, unconditional love of God: 'Hope does not disappoint us, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.' (Romans 5:5) We dare to hope because we have come to know and experience the love of God.

So Christmas is all about hope, because the coming of Jesus reveals that God cares enough about us to come to us, to reach out to us, to become one of us. So as we go about decorating our homes, shopping for new clothes, and wrapping gifts for our loved ones, and in the midst of all our carolling and feasting and merrymaking, we should keep in mind this message of hope: there can always be a better tomorrow because God loves us and cares for us!

     O come, divine Messiah!
     The world in silence waits the day
     When hope shall sing of triumph
     And sadness flees away.

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