Hope Unwrapped

It’s the day after Christmas, and I just finished putting away the boxes and shredded wrapping paper for my gifts.  We don’t exchange much, not having kids.  Mostly stocking stuffers, but that’s ok.  I love any Christmas gift, even a roll of Life Savers.

Growing up, we didn’t have much money, so gifts were scarce.  Like many American families, we struggled financially, and the focus was on essentials, not extras.

So we lived for Christmas!  All year long  we were so filled with hope of what we would get, as we watched other kids wear all the latest clothes, ride the coolest bikes, or bake cakes in Easy Bake Ovens they received throughout the year, feeling like outcasts and misfits.

I have no memory of ever believing in Santa Claus.  I didn’t seem to care, from what I’m told.  Probably because all I cared about was the gifts, and didn’t care if they were delivered by a dude with a beard in a red suit or my parents.

In fact, why depend on some stranger, when you could directly hand your parents a list and hope they understood why you just had to have that one particular pair of boots? The ones I hoped for were white, patent leather knee boots, and after I FINALLY got them, I was in heaven!

I loved them so much I wouldn’t take them off.  Even after my dog chewed up the top of one of them, I still wore them proudly, because there wasn’t money for replacements.  I never got the Easy Bake Oven, but I wore those boots out, chew marks and all.

There were more than a few years in which our hopes weren’t met and we were all met with disappointment.  Our parents didn’t always have the money or the understanding of what we hoped for, and they always hoped we would be happy with what we got anyway.  We pretended we were. They knew we weren’t.

There’s no way to hide your disappointment with only getting one gift, and it’s one you can’t wear; a 7 piece, bright orange, interchangeable outfit you wouldn’t be caught dead in at Midnight in Picayune, MS.  But that’s my sister’s story to tell.  Or not.  She buried the bold orange clown outfit, and boldly hoped for the next year.

It’s rough when you put your hopes in one day, or in gifts, or any material things.  But that’s children.  Especially children who live life with less than their friends, and hope to catch up and fit in.  But at least we had hope.  We lived hopefully, and not just about gifts.  To me, that’s a gift in and of itself.  In fact, it’s the greatest gift I ever received.

I’ve been thinking a lot about hope, since Michelle Obama said that Americans are now feeling “hopeless” after the election.  She’s right that hope is a vitally important concept.

But America is now hopeless? Merriam-Webster defines hopeless as, “having no expectation of good or success” That’s is a painful, brutal,  state of existence. We’ve all been there, if only for a moment.  I have.  Just never over an election, or this country.

And is that really where we are, without expectation of good or success?  The AP came out today with a new poll that 55% of Americans “believe things will be better in the coming year”, up 12 points from this time last year.

Which means, Michelle, that last year, at the start of your husband’s last year in office, only 43% of Americans were hopeful that 2016 would be better than 2015.

We did indeed just come off a general election that was very hope based.  Of course you can’t have hope without expectation, we sure did as kids.  But, not all hope is well intentioned.

The left so hoped and expected Hillary would win, despite her crimes, corruption, and lack of charisma, on top of her pledge to continue Obama’s failures, that when it didn’t happen, they actually hoped to overturn the free and fair election through threats and intimidation of electors.  That’s worse than childish, it’s literally tyrannical.  We never tried to overthrow my parents when we didn’t get a stereo we wanted.

In Turkey and Berlin, we saw another political ideology continue their attempt to take over free people as well.  They are another group hell bent and hope bent on the destruction of America and the West. Their expectation is success, too, and inch by inch, are on there way to it.  At least they were.

But we now have hope filled President Elect Donald J. Trump, Trump supporters, and Americans of all political stripes, hoping that Trump will be able to implement some, even if not all, of his plans to overturn the fall out from the phony “hope and change candidate”.  A charlatan, who’s agenda of change looks a lot like the aforementioned group.

In many ways Michelle Obama is correct to express the lack of hope the left is feeling. Individual freedom, religious freedom for Christians and Jews, and free market freedoms won; socialism, Islamism, Marxism, or any variation of “isms” lost.

Obama’s platform of hope and change rested on power taken from individuals and businesses, and giving it to the government.  That was firmly rejected.

Conservatives and traditional Americans understand that our nation was founded on natural law.  That our rights are given by God, not man.  And, after seeing eight years of the result of having our individual and business rights impeded, decided to take our nation back, putting hope back where it belongs.

But if your hope is in a centralized government, then right now, you might be feeling despair.  Too many on the left placed their hopes in the state, willing to trade their freedoms for the utopian dream of “free” college, “rights” to home ownership, food, phones, college educations, medical care, safe spaces, dream fulfillment, etc.

On the morning of the election, I woke thinking I might have despair at the prospect of a Hillary win, and the completion of Obama’s agenda.

Instead, I felt at peace.  Because my hope has never rested in man or government, my hope and peace can’t be taken by either.

When I was 13 I received the greatest Christmas gift of my life, I received Jesus as my savior.  Not on Christmas, but because of it. He was sent here to die on the cross for our sins, AND so we “could live life abundantly and with joy”.  “Peace I gave to you”, He said. Well peace, I have.  And with peace, hope.

I was always a hopeful kid.  But since becoming a Christian, my hope was no longer in my parents, friends, bosses, fate, the horoscope, or even this great nation I love so much.

My hope is in a living God, who has fulfilled His promise to “never leave me nor forsake me”.  It is through Him that I am blessed and will continue to be, regardless of who is in office.

It’s a gift that came “unwrapped”.  I didn’t have to do anything to earn it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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