HOPE – The Epiphany of the Lord

Christmas is over. The rushing has eased. Each child and adult has given and received gifts. If I asked each of you if you were pleased with the majority of the holiday season. How is the time that many of us are relaxing and resting from all of the flurry of excitement, Things are returning to normal and life goes on. But there is something important that I want to talk about today. It is the word Hope.

Perhaps last year wasn't your favorite year and you are wishing that 2019 will be better. Maybe last year was great and you are hoping for another. Today's first reading is a great example of Hope. The wise Magi believed that something wonderful was about to happen in a far away land. Reports say that they saw a sat that called them to start out on a long, long difficult journey to a land far away. This Hope gave them great joy and has given us a wonderful story of diligence and courage as we go forth on our own journey.

Hope for the future can mean different things to people. Perhaps it means that our family will have good health. Hope can mean that we have the needed financial means to help with bills. Hope can also mean that we get a closer relationship with God. There are so many dimensions to appreciating Hope in our lives as there are stars in the heavens.

What if we started this year with no Hope and wondered what was going to happen to ourselves and our family. If this is how you feel right now it is very important that you reach out to family and friends around you. We at Jesus Our shepherd are here to comfort you, pray with you, listen to you, and be the comforter as Jesus is the comforter. Do not suffer in silence but speak out to others who care about you.

What can we do to help people that are without hope. There are many things according to the needs of the situation.

If God speaks to us and reminds us to care for the homeless and hungry, we can continue to bring food to church each Sunday. Perhaps we can find a family whose house or apartment was burned or flooded and help in an individual way. Many commercials are on TV this season requesting money for special causes like Smile Train that provides repair surgery for children born with cleft pallets. Or perhaps we can pray for a certain individual or person purposely many times a day.

In today's reading from the prophet Isiah, God says: Upon you God shines and over you appears glory. Raise your eyes and look about. All will gather and come to you. Then you will be radiant and what you see, your heart shall throb and overflow. The riches of the sea shall be emptied out before you. All proclaiming the praises of God.

It is not enough that we hear these words from scripture. It is that we must believe them. Hope means that someday we will experience God in all of God's wonder. Hope means we must believe that God is with us at all times even if we do not feel, see, or hear, or experience the joy that God proclaims. It takes great courage to walk in hope even though the situation around does not feel hopeful.

Courage, be strong, help the hurting, reach out to the stranger, believe in yourself and believe in God.

Never give up. Always trust, always believe.

Hope is for the brave, the courageous, and the strong. We are stronger together than separate. Hold on tight and close your eyes and believe in a God who loves us immensely.

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