The Gift of Hope
"The things we hope in sustain us in our daily walk. They uphold us through trials, temptations and sorrow. Everyone has experienced discouragement and difficulty. Indeed there are times when the darkness may seem unbearable. It is in these times that the divine principles of the restored gospel can uphold us and carry us until, once again, we walk in the light." -Pres. Dieter F. Uchtdorf
Our house that year was underground. Not part of it, the whole thing. Basement house. (Whose bright idea was that?) My dad had lost his job over the summer and we moved into the tiny home just before my sophomore year began. I won't go into all the details of the house, but suffice it to say it was dreadful.
School began and soon the holidays approached. No amount of poverty could hold the season at bay. I have no idea how my parents got through that time. Now, as a 'grown-up' myself, I better understand the stresses they must have struggled to shoulder. I was 15 so I wasn't ignorant to our plight. But, honestly, I have very fond memories of that year. I remember making treats to deliver anonymously. Mom's fudge and divinity and cream candy. We worked in our small kitchen, filling the whole house with wonderful smells. My sisters and I made homemade gifts for our friends. We joked and teased and laughed. And Christmas eve, we read the story from the Bible and sang Christmas songs while sitting in the soft glow of our Christmas tree lights.
I'd love to say that Christmas morning brought a huge surprise and our house was filled with presents. Not so. I received one gift, a pair of church shoes that I'd picked out a week before. My heart aches for my parents and how hard that morning must have been. What I didn't know at the time is that my parents gave me a much greater gift that year. That Christmas season, they gave me the gift of hope.
Through their struggles and trials, they never gave up. They made family time important. They taught us by example that it isn't about what's under the tree. It's about the baby who was born and the hope He brought to the world.
Our circumstances are usually not what we want. Really, do you know anyone who considers their own life perfect? Life is hard. Money, health issues, teenagers, war, politics- there are so many things to weigh us down. What can lift us up is the knowledge that there is something better. That someday, whether in this life or the next, we will have peace. If we believe this and do all we can to find joy, here and now, then hope will prevail.
"Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost." Romans 15:13
Read Pres. Uchtdorf's talk 'The Infinite Power of Hope'.