It’s one thing to know the meaning of “hope” in your mind, and quite another to actually experience it. I’m not talking about how you feel when you “hope it’s a sunny day tomorrow so you can get the yard work done”, kind of thing. In order to *experience* hope, you first have to experience the lack of it. You can’t see a candle flame which is sitting in the bright sunshine, but on a pitch black, power-outage night, that candle flame can be a life-saver. I mean it can *save your life*.

With my son being sick recently, my mind wandered into all sorts of scenarios. After all, lots of people do have to face gravely serious illness, why not my family? How do people endure it? It would have to be by lighting that candle flame… or maybe others light it for them. And perhaps it’s easy to have your back turned from that small light, and not realize that there is anything there except darkness.

When the darkness is great, it only takes a small spark to make a difference–a word of encouragement, a hug, a little extra help with ordinary tasks, a pleasant story or good news of some sort (and *sometimes* a joke), even a sunny day…

At this moment, the fragrance of clementines being peeled, and pumpkin pudding in the oven, are simple things that shout “Christmas” for me, and fill me with hope… Emmanuel: God is with us–no matter what we’re going through.

(“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light.” Isaiah 9:2)

…(But there is NO HOPE for my diet!!)

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