Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Hope at Christmas

This letter by my very good friend Maurie Loomans, appeared in the Cincinnati Enquirer recently on the YOUR VOICE column. Maurie Loomans of White Oak is a retired medical research scientist and Elder who writes as a deep thinker about God's world. He was born in 1933, the year of President’s Roosevelt’s first inaugural address.

White House, churches should inspire hope

As Christmas approaches, the holiday does not make it better for those who are facing unemployment for the first time. It is a fearful time. For instance: Will I be able to keep my house? How can I have health insurance? Will my child be able to go to college?

However, this scenario is not the only time this country has faced this problem. Consider what it was like in the time we call the Great Depression. In his first inaugural address in March of 1933, President Roosevelt said:

This is preeminently the time to speak the truth, the whole truth, frankly and boldly. Nor need we shrink from honestly facing conditions in our country today. This great Nation will endure as it has endured, will revive and will prosper. So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.

Seventy six years later we face a similar situation. In my judgment, fear has reached pandemic proportions in 2009. So far I have heard nothing from The White House that neither alleviates fear nor provides reasonable hope. The question is whether the message of Christmas is pertinent to this problem. I believe it does.

The biblical story found in Luke as said to the shepherds is, “But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.” Then a multitude of angels came and said, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."

And later Jesus in His ministry says, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” When put together, it appears that God’s peace is an antidote for fear.

President Roosevelt goes on to say: “More important, a host of unemployed citizens face the grim problem of existence and an equally great number toil with little return. Only a foolish optimist can deny the dark realities of the moment.”

My hope is that the current administration will take realistic actions that will create good jobs and that churches across this country will help people turn fear into peace.

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