In HOPE 5.34                                  back to home                        David Timms

Merry Christmas

Thanks to all of you who have kindly received "IN HOPE" throughout 2005. I have  so appreciated the short chats I've been able to have with many of you.

I plan to issue "In HOPE 6.1" about January 20, 2006. In the meantime, I'll be travelling to Australia with my family - to see my family - over Christmas and then return to intensive coursework here at Hope from January 5-12.

I wish you all a Merry Christmas, one filled with joy and peace ... and some meaningful reflections on the birth of our Savior. Blessings.              



Hope International University
Fullerton, CA 92831


"They all were looking for a king, To slay their foes and lift them high; Thou cam'st, a little baby-thing, That made a woman cry."

(George Macdonald)

I Wonder ...

I wonder ... did the Bethlehem inn-keeper realize he was the first to deny hospitality to the Son of God? Rejection became the motif of Jesus' life.

I wonder ... did Mary imagine that the birth of her boy would mean the bloody deaths of the boys of Bethlehem? Her son would later die one of the bloodiest deaths of all.

I wonder ... did Joseph have any idea that the trip to Bethlehem was just his first step towards life as a refugee in Egypt? His son would be born and die as an outcast.

I wonder ... did the shepherds who received the angelic visitation ever anticipate such a privilege? The gospel has always been best news to those on the fringes.

I wonder ... did the magi from the east envisage that the baby King they honored would live in poverty and die as an itinerant pauper? His "reign" was not in courts but among the commoners - and still is.

I wonder ... do all our Christmas trees, colored lights, hanging ornaments, and brightly wrapped packages give us any sense of the spartan conditions of that special birth - unpleasant odors, unsanitary sleeping quarters, and undesirable vulnerability?

The birth of Christ - often presented in cozy fairy-tale proportions - actually addresses the harshest realities of human existence.

If we've ever wondered about the meaning of life, about the agony of pain and suffering, about the bite of rejection, about the anxiety of the unknown, about the discomfort of marginalization, about the distress of isolation, about danger, violence, corruption, oppression, and poverty ... the Christmas story is our story. At every level, it speaks a persistent word.

At Christmas ... Mary welcomed her child; some of us will bury family or friends. The shepherds left their fields to worship the babe; some of us will have to work shifts to support our families. The magi bore expensive gifts; some of us will not be able to afford gifts at all. A healthy child was born; some of us will wrestle with major illness.

And yet, despite the apparent contrasts, the stories (Advent, and our own) are remarkably parallel. The birth of Christ is not mere history, but the powerful reminder of "God (in the trenches) with us".  



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David Timms serves in the Graduate Ministry Department at Hope International University in Fullerton, California. "In HOPE", however, is not an official publication of the University and the views expressed are not necessarily those of the Administrators or Board of the institution. "In HOPE" has been a regular e-publication since January, 2001.

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