[ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Paul Moore ministers in the southeast corner of Saskatchewan at the Moose Mountain Church of Christ.]
Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope:
Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him.”
I have a doctrine that I have been developing as of late: the doctrine of Unreasonable Hope.
The Christmas season is no different than other times of the year in at least one aspect: Even a brief look at the world around us causes all-consuming despair. Whether it is wars, terrorist attacks, violence in our own cities and towns, or more long-standing issues like hunger, disease, and neglect the darkness of this world seems ever present and vast.
And yet during the Christmas season we see people give more generously, help their neighbours, and sing Christmas carols to total strangers. Why? Because during the holiday season we frantically submerge the realities around us? Perhaps. But more importantly there is something fundamental about Christmas that unhinges us from this reality and helps us believe in Unreasonable Hope, even if it is but for a fleeting moment or two.
What is the “Christmas spirit” but an expression of Unreasonable Hope. A belief that no matter where we are, what has happened to us, or no matter what we have or don’t have we can joyously turn to helping others around us; that by simple glad tidings, by greeting, or acts of charity and good will we aim to make our neighbourhoods, towns, cities, countries, and indeed all of humankind a better place.
This belief is stacked against the attacks in Paris, Beirut, the war in Syria, and most recently the shootings in San Bernardino. So why do we persist with this belief?
Because of unrealistic, illogical, Unreasonable Hope.
The Hope of Christmas is not based on anything in this world, nor in the presumed goodness of humans. Rather this Unreasonable Hope comes from the concept, idea, event of a small crying infant being born in a forgotten place and time.
The idea and event of God, creator and sustainer of all things, truly beyond comprehension, who exists outside of all we know and understand, that God came to us as one of us. The creator became created, the giver of life is given life, the Divine and Human now one.
Everything about this is unrealistic, illogical, and unreasonable. This does not happen. It breaks all the rules. It is, in short, impossible.
Why is the impossible made possible? Glad tidings, peace on earth, chorusing angels all proclaim that God through this weak, small, and fragile infant will become through another impossible made possible event, the saviour of all humankind.
Whether implicit or explicit this is why we humans, even as we are normally generally pessimistic and dejected about things, during the Christmas season have a most unusual tendency to be cheerful, optimistic, and filled with Unreasonable Hope.
As we go about our busy lives in the days leading up to Christmas may we allow ourselves to be entirely taken over by the Unreasonable Hope that permeates this season. Give in to the urge to spread some cheer, help out, and make our world a better place. And maybe, just maybe, keep a little of that Unreasonable Hope tucked away somewhere in our hearts for the rest of the year.
Could be handy.