For a few moments, when the clock struck midnight, I felt a ray of hope on New Year’s Eve that this year, 2021, would be better. And then dark times seemed to set in right away…the news headlines, the increasing rifts in the nation, taking down the Christmas tree and decorations and missing family who had never even seen them due to the pandemic, the coronavirus itself and the impact on the economy and on people, all of which seems to keep getting worse instead of better…well, it’s hard not to get pulled down by gloom and doom right now. It seems all of us know someone who is struggling in these difficult times…with depression, with health issues, even with loss and death.
Still, there is hope.
I was feeling so down recently I decided to play “Bible roulette” as my friend Gus Lloyd does with listeners on his radio talk show, “Seize the Day” on the Catholic Channel, Sirius XM 129. Basically, you pick a number and then look up the corresponding Bible passage. For some reason, the number 1279 popped in my head. I turned to page 1279 of my Bible and found Acts 11:19-25 which tells of how the apostles “were scattered because of the persecution that occurred,” but how they continued to preach about Jesus “and the hand of the Lord was with them.” And I felt hope knowing God is always available with his guiding hand, we just need to reach for it.
We need to persevere.
The journey isn’t always easy. My dad was told five years ago that he had stage four, incurable, inoperable pancreatic cancer and was given months to live. He has continued to defy the odds…and has lived to see two more great-grandchildren born and spend many precious moments with family and friends. Still, he has had to persevere, going regularly for chemo treatments, doctor’s visits and more. He perseveres in taking the actions necessary to hold onto hope. And he’s got my mom to help him.
We need to help each other.
The journey isn’t easy for my mom, his caregiver, either. She has spent countless hours over the past five years making homemade chicken noodle soup for my dad, arranging and then taking him to all of the chemo and doctor’s appointments…the list goes on. And yet, even on the bad days, she stays positive in spite it all. We need to give hope to each other and when our own hope is fading, we need to find a way to keep it alive.
We need to see the light.
Some of us live in places where it is winter, when some days are cold and dreary, and seasonal depression can set in. But there are always days with sun and even some that are warm. If we can look to the light of the sunrise or the stars, or if we can’t see them through the clouds, light a candle in the dark, we can see the light of hope. Jesus is the light of the world. He came when the world was just as dark as it is now. And He is always there.