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Monday, 30 December 2013

Theme for 2014: Hope/Esperanza

   A blog that I follow, called The Peaceful Mom, included a post last week about how one word really defined the year 2013 for her.  She later added a second post where she shared the word “align” as a guiding theme for 2014, to indicate that certain areas of her life need to be restored to their proper balance.  This discussion led me to consider if there might be a word or phrase that I can foresee being important for me in 2014.  The one I'd like to share is hope.  I include the Spanish equivalent for good reason, as I will explain later.

   Hope is a word that carries over from the advent season, where each candle lit represents a quality that is important in the Christmas story.  Without hope it is hard to get out of bed each morning.  Without hope a gray sky can dictate our moods.  Without hope life is a form of drudgery.  But where does this hope come from?  Ultimately it comes from knowing that God is in control and that he made a way for us to know him through his Son Jesus Christ. 
When I attended a chapel service at a local prison on the first Sunday of advent the chaplain gave each inmate and guest a symbol of hope.  When she first introduced this symbol I did not grasp its significance.  The symbol she chose was an eraser.  An eraser gets rid of the mistakes we’ve made.  How does this relate to hope? When we are stuck in the guilt and regret of the shortcomings and offenses that we have committed our sense of hope is stolen.  But with forgiveness, the erasing of our sins, hope is restored.  Our outlook can look forwards instead of backwards.
   With hope I anticipate the relief that will come to family members when ownership of a property is transferred in the coming year. 
The front gate to the school
   Lord willing, in January I will spend ten days helping at Colegio Cristiano La Esperanza, a school for needy children in the outskirts of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.  This Hope Collegiate is a place where youngsters can overcome the poverty they have been born into.  It is a place where they encounter the Lord of all hopefulness in a unique way that I will be privileged to share in.  Since it is my first cross-cultural service trip, I anticipate that the experience is going to change me.  I fully hope that as I work in this remote location I will learn things that will stay with me and mark me for the coming year.  

“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.”  Letter to the Hebrews 6:19a

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