2014-01-10 / Chaplain's News

Placing hope in the Lord

By Chaplain (Maj.) Douglas Yates
Installation Management Command–Atlantic Region

So what do we do now? Christmas is over. Not just Dec. 25th, I’m talking the Twelve Days of Christmas that began on Christmas Day. Christmastime (December 25 – January 5) has come and gone. I’ll be honest, for the longest time as a kid and a young adult that song didn’t make sense to me. Why did we sing this goofy song…? “On the First Day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…?” It seemed so strange but always gave a laugh. Nowadays, I consider that song differently, and I think of Christmas differently and try to enjoy Christmas more fully. I want to get in the full twelve days as a celebration, not just one day that comes and goes.

Regardless of how I want to celebrate Christmas, here we are. It’s after Christmas Day. It’s after New Year’s Day. It’s after Christmastime. It’s cold outside. In fact, I don’t know that it could actually get any colder. Well, maybe it could if we were stationed at Fort Drum. The Christmas decorations are boxed away. The Christmas lights are no longer lit, rolled up and tucked in their boxes to wait next Christmas (if they will even work next year). The fun seems to be fading away and we are left with winter.

So, I ask again, what do we do now? What’s going to keep us occupied for the future (be it near or distant)? Here’s a thought: perhaps you made a New Year’s resolution. Christmas is out of the way. You’ve taken a time to celebrate the birth of Jesus, the savior of the world. New Year’s Day came, and the time to reflect on life came with it. You’ve considered the past year. You’ve evaluated the ups and downs. You’ve contemplated what you did well or what went well for you, and you’ve pondered even what you wished would have gone differently. With those things that you wished went differently in mind, you produced some resolution(s).

These resolutions take all forms, shapes and sizes. Often people consider their fitness level and resolve to exercise more, eat better, or get in shape. Others, after reflection, decided they needed to do a better job relating to friends, family members, or even their enemies, resolving to be “nicer”. There’s another group of people, when it comes to resolutions, who don’t appreciate where they are in regards to their faith, and they resolve to live better lives of faith.

How are you doing with your resolution? Are you still trying to keep it? Or did you abandon it already, maybe even the very day you “resolved” or “reformed” yourself? Here are some statistics for you: 25 percent of resolutions are not kept through the first week; over 50 percent are not kept over the next six months. Are you on track to do better than the statistic or are you just another statistic?

My intent in this article is not to depress. That being the case, I realize what I’ve written is more on the depressing side of life. Christmas has come and gone. We build it up with so much hype. When it’s gone, we are left with the aftermath of paying for a big Christmas celebration. New Year’s Day has come, and we’ve spent time reflecting on life. We very likely have not liked what we’ve seen over the past and are seeking to live differently, however, left to our own devices and on our own strength, we fail to be different. Simply put: life looks so depressing (to some).

My encouragement to us is this: “Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (Isaiah 40:30-31) I think our problem so many times is that we look at life and get down about it because we rely upon our own strength to get anywhere. We fail in the area of not possessing true hope. I’m not talking about a hope within me like: I hope I can do better. According to Isaiah, young men can struggle in their own strength to become better or do better. They stumble and fall.

Isaiah’s encouragement is to hope in the Lord. Those who do will be strengthened and renewed. As we come down from the joy of Christmas and have resolved to live life differently this year from the last, may our hope be in the Lord and may he be the source of our strength to live more godly and righteous lives.

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