Thursday, December 21, 2006

Christmas Hope

Sunrise: Hope of
a new day

I was reading last week about how Dr Martin Luther King Jr. conducted civil rights marches throughout the south. He gave inspiring speeches for which he and others were persecuted and arrested during the sit-ins and demonstrations.

An important question is this: "Why did Dr. King keep going? Why was he willing to be arrested and mistreated for his beliefs? What motivated him to tirelessly campaign for civil rights in a time period when things between whites and blacks weren’t very civil?

The answer is that he was a man of hope. He dared to imagine that the world could be different; that the world could be a better place. That is why he said,
"I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood. I have a dream that one day in the state of Alabama, little black boys and little black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls and walk together as sisters and brothers. I have a dream that one day, all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"

It was the hope of a better tomorrow that inspired these words of Dr. King. The same thing is true about Isaiah 2:3-4, “Many peoples will come and say, ‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.’ The law will go out from Zion, the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.”

Isaiah is saying, "Yes, I know that things aren’t going well. Things might seem hopeless in many ways. Yes it is because of our sin and we live in a war ravaged time. But I believe that someday, things are going to change around here! I have a vision from God! There are better days ahead! Someday, this sinful land is going to become the home of the living God! An oasis of freedom and justice and righteousness. A place where people from all over the world can come to learn the word of God! A place where nations will throw away their weapons of war. And learn the ways of peace.”

As you go through this Christmas season and into the new year, ask yourself this: “How can I have hope in a way that Christ can work through me to have better days ahead?” You can do it. I can do it! Let’s do it together. Tell me what you think. (