Friday, December 22, 2006

Leftovers or a Feast

Hope is Born

Recently, two grandson-sayings blessed and enriched my understanding about God-instilled hope.

The first grandson-comment occurred on Thanksgiving Day. Our dining table creaked, weighted by luscious food, but it wasn’t a dream feast for six-year-old grandson Adam. Cranberries and cornbread dressing don’t have the same appeal as Ronald McDonalds’ menu.

An hour after our 20 family members feasted on bountiful Pilgrim food, Adam opened the refrigerator door. With a voice steeped in doubt, he asked, “Grandma, do you have anything to eat in here?” He’d bypassed a feast and ended up searching for leftovers.

The second insight came from eight-year-old grandson Jack. My grandchildren know that I’m a soft touch when we’re running errands and they’re hungry. I’ll fly through the fast food lane at Long John Silvers quicker than the down of a thistle.

Jack accompanied me to Wednesday night Bible classes, and afterwards, Jack said, “Grandma, I’m really hungry.”

Teasing I said, “Well, if you’re that desperate, we’ll drive through and get you something on the way home.”

After a thoughtful pause, Jack asked, “Why did you say I’m desperate? Doesn’t desperate mean without hope?” And then we had a nice conversation about expectation of better things, and the One who supplies us with hope.

After these encounters with grandsons, I was reminded of the daily feast of opportunities to over-indulge in God’s hope. A Bible proverb states, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick” (13:12). Or as Eugene Peterson paraphrased that proverb in “The Message”: “Unrelenting disappointment leaves you heartsick, but a sudden good break can turn life around.”

Life is often described as mountains and valleys, but I recently read (can’t remember where) that life is more like railway tracks. Parallel of sad things are such good things as the next breath, food, friendships, income- producing-work, and family.

Life consists of dual moments of sunshine and rain. Paul wrote to the Ephesians about the time they were without hope, without God in their lives, and reminded them that hope entered when they embraced Jesus Christ.

Grandsons Jack and Adam often refresh our lives with antics, unusual wisdom, and little boy embraces. This Christmas reflect on another little boy -- the one born in Bethlehem, the Son of God destined to bring personal peace.

Don’t settle for leftovers because Jesus sets a banquet table before the world, laden with individual servings of hope.

Merry Christmas.
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