A whisper of hope

Published 12:36 am Sunday, December 25, 2016

By Rev. Chris Surber

There is clearly something magical about strands of bright colored lights and glittery wrapping paper. Even people not known for happiness come alive at Christmas. Even people not known for religious sentiment go to church.

I’ve struggled to get into the Christmas spirit. My wife, church family and I spent much of this week walking through the death of a little baby boy this week. I spent an evening praying with a friend’s wife by his hospital bed as he struggles to recover from heart surgery. I and several friends gathered to light candles at a Blue Christmas service to celebrate hope in the shadow of suffering and loss.


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It’s been a long week. It’s been a long year. A few nights ago I was just exhausted from these and so many other things. I collapsed in my bed ready to ignore the world. A moment later I realized I wasn’t alone in that bed.

My little 4-year-old son was buried under the blankets keeping warm because of his frugal father’s insistence upon using as little heat as possible this cold winter.

Little Hansel poked his head out of the top of the covers and whispered to me, “I wuv you daddy.”

That simple, sweet little whisper melted the ice I’d let build up on my heart that week. His quiet little expression of love restored the cracks the pain and burden of the week had created in my soul. So simple. So strong.

That’s what Christmas is. The coming of the Christ into this world is the whisper of hope from a little baby in a manger saying, “I will make all things new.” It is a whisper of hope from a the King of Kings saying, “I will wipe away every tear.”

G.K. Chesterton said, “Hope, like all the Christian virtues, is as unreasonable as it is indispensable.”

At Christmas, God sent a whisper of hope in a way that none of us would have expected or designed. Were I God, I would have sent hope loudly crashing through the streets, conquering any who stood against it. But I’m not God, and that’s not how He chooses to work in this world.

Speaking of Jesus, the Bible says, “Behold, my servant whom I have chosen, my beloved with whom my soul is well pleased. I will put my Spirit upon him, and he will proclaim justice to the Gentiles. He will not quarrel or cry aloud, nor will anyone hear his voice in the streets; a bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not quench, until he brings justice to victory; and in his name the Gentiles will hope.” (Matthew 12:18-21 ESV)

A whisper of hope from Christ echoes throughout the ages and resounds in the hearts of men. This Christmas, listen for that whisper. Its quiet roar still echoes from a manger in Bethlehem for all to hear.

Merry Christmas!

The Rev. Chris Surber is the pastor at Liberty Spring Christian Church. Email him at chris@chrissurber.com.