Recently I discovered this writing that has been public since it was found on the wall of a cell from the Holocaust: "I believe in the sun even when it is not shining. I believe in love even when I cannot feel it. I believe in God even when He is silent."
No one knows the author or what became of him or her. No one knows if the prisoner was gassed, starved, beaten to death, or if they were able to walk out into freedom after experiencing hell on Earth. No one knows what became of the hand that scribbled out that profound message. That doesn’t stop those words from reaching right into the pit of our souls and grabbing our attention.
We all seem to look for a little more glimmer and hope this time of year. We really want to slow down long enough to see evidence of compassion in mankind. We want to believe that good things can come from hard circumstances. We want to hope when there is no evidence that we should.
Need hope now
At least for several generations, I believe we have not had such a great need to see something other than a declining and demoralizing culture and society. Maybe the “greatest generation” felt like this during World War II. Maybe my great-grandparents were wringing their hands about what would become of us all during World War I.
Their enemies were not as illusive and invisible as ours are today. They had a moral fiber that was woven into daily life. Much of that has unraveled.
Most likely, all had been stripped away from the hand that penned those deep and hope-filled lines above. But where light could not chase away the darkness, something cut through the dense veil. The human heart is capable of incredible tenacity and perseverance.
The very history of our country speaks to this truth. But what can be said of all the uncertainties in our future, both collectively and personally? No matter how we feel about the outcome of the recent election, or how we worry and fret and long for a simpler time, the fact is, here we are, and time marches on. No matter what comes across our paths or lands in our backyards, no matter what adversity attempts to swallow us … if we still believe, then no one and nothing can remove the most fundamental thing about mankind: hope.
'Tis the season of hope
This is the season of hope. It’s written all around us. We desire its evidence as we seek out a sense that “All is well,” if even for a moment.
Maybe it’s around a toasty fire as our beloved family unwraps Christmas gifts. It is good that we hope. It is good that we look for it. It is good that we still long for it! May we never lose sight of the fact that no one and nothing can remove what is embedded deep into our souls.
No darkness can conceal it. No starless night can threaten it. No matter what is shifting around you, this can be a Merry Christmas. It can be filled with unrelenting gratitude and joy when you look past all that is meant to cover up our soul’s true longing.
Even if you cannot feel it this year, there is hope. There is love, and there is a prophecy fulfilled. We will celebrate it even when the world wants to silence it.
McClain writes from Greenwood.