Pastor's Pen
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December 10, 2015, 2:06 PM

Hope & the Birth of Jesus Foretold



    I believe the saying is true … “Winter is a time when most of us look inward at our lives.” Perhaps winter is a time when we evaluate where we have been. And then, when spring comes, I am one who never ceases to have renewed excitement as I anticipate the sun heating up the earth and bulbs and flowers and other growing things begin to sprout up. Maria and her Garden and my wife who works there a couple of days a week, would agree that spring brings great excitement and a feeling of hope.

   The dictionary defines hope as “to expect with desire; a belief in fulfillment.”  Enthusiasm is all we need to make each day a fantastic and positive experience. What would life be like if each of us started the day with a smile and thoughts that rays of sunshine will fill our faces and minds with happiness? It is also true that a hopeful attitude helps us see and experience the best in life.

   Hope can also help us cope in times of trial. Over the Thanksgiving holiday I read this story. A teacher was sent to a hospital to help a badly burned boy with his grammar lessons. At the end of the session, she felt she hadn’t done a very good job, but the next day the hospital staff asked what she had done to change the boy’s response to healing.  Two weeks later the boy told them that when the teacher came to help him, he thought, “They wouldn’t have sent a teacher to help me with my schoolwork if people thought I was dying.”

   Several years back, in the magazine Hope, the editor began one of her editorials, entitled “Hope in Action,” with these words: “Each of us has the capacity to create the world we want by starting with the most ordinary of human acts.” Give it a try … fill your life with hope, love, and action.

   Meister Eckhart, a 13th century Christian thinker, spoke of our invitation to participate in God’s annunciation to Mary of conceiving the Baby Jesus with these words: “The incarnational labor pains began in Mary, but continue inside each one of us.” In other words, while neither you nor I are going to birth the Savior into the world, you and I are invited, interrupted, beckoned, into listening for God’s seemingly impossible call for how we might participate in God’s new creating in our lives and in our towns and cities and in our world, whether that call comes on the wings of an angel or out of the mouth of a friend or stranger.

   The angel said to Mary, “Greetings favored one! The Lord is with you.” What would you do if you heard that statement, from an angel or from a friend? 12.06.2015

Dr. Rick Baggett is pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Ardmore (the church with the bells) and can be reached at:

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