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On Hope

December 24, 2019

I love the movie It’s a Wonderful Life.

If you’ve never seen it, or it’s been a while since you have, the movie opens with a scene of men, women, and children praying for a man named George Bailey. The camera pans, and the image shifts from a snowy Bedford Falls to a vision of heaven and a conversation between two angels. They’re preparing to send help to George Bailey and discuss the next angel in line—Clarence, a novice angel without his wings. They claim he has “the IQ of a rabbit but the faith of a child” and send for him anyway. 

The conversation goes something like this:
One angel says to Clarence: “A man down on earth needs our help.”
Clarence asks:  “Is he sick?”
The other angel replies, “No, it’s worse. He’s discouraged.”

Have you ever been there before? Is there anything worse in life than feeling discouraged? You know, discouragement is truly a sense of hopelessness.

And we live in a world that is looking and longing for hope.

The famous Christmas song “Oh Holy Night” contains this line: Long lay the world in sin and error pining.

I looked up that word pining—it’s one we don’t hear very often. It actually means to suffer a mental and physical decline, especially because of a broken heart. Sounds a lot like discouragement to me. 

But the song gives us some desperately needed good news:

He appeared and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices.

A thrill of hope because He appeared. And that hope, the hope found in a baby born in Bethlehem, is what Christmas is all about.

“For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

– Isaiah 9:6


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