Sunday, December 18, 2011

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'.

7 comments:

  1. My favorite Christmas memory was when I was a little girl. My parents could only afford to put an eight pack of crayons and and a simple pad of paper under the tree for my brother and me. I remember the look on my mom's face and learning in that moment to be grateful. I know that morning was hard for my mom, but I felt so loved that Christmas day.

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  2. It's interesting, isn't it, that those hard memories for parents turn into sweet ones for their children? I try to remind myself of that with my own family.

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  3. You guys are making me cry. Thanks for sharing your memories. merry Christmas!

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  4. Jewels, I was trying hard to be positive this morning after realizing that we may not be able to have tons of presents under the tree this year, and, more importantly, getting bad news about my dad. I am so grateful for your post and the reminder of hope and . . . and, thanks to a loving Heavenly Father and a Savior who loves us all so much . . . that families really are forever.

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  5. I always worry about writing spiritual posts. Just unsure how people will feel about reading such personal thoughts. I'm so glad to know it helped.

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  6. Thanks for sharing this story. For a variety of reasons (including a year or two with nothing to put under the tree), it really hit home for me.

    It also reminded me of a hope-related story from my job. Part of what I do is the menu planning and grocery shopping at the halfway house. At any given time, I have two residents who are my "pantry guys" who help me keep track of what we need to get, etc. Last year, one of them handed me a list and it said, "Green peppers, milk, spaghetti sauce, HOPE!"

    He was just in a momentary rough spot, but later, we had a running joke about which grocery store aisle you'd have to look in to find hope.

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  7. Wouldn't it be great if we could pick it up at the store?

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