A woman woke up and told her husband, ‘I just had a dream that you gave me a pearl necklace for Valentine’s Day. What do you think it means?’ Her husband replied, ‘You’ll know tonight.’ That evening, the man came home with a small package and gave it to his wife. Delighted, she opened it, to find a book entitled, ‘How to Interpret Dreams.’
Did you used to dream? Not just those adventures in your sleep but what did you used to hope for? A couple of weeks ago a young lady told me that she made the conscious decision at age 15 to give up hope. She stopped hoping for anything and decided that life was ‘as good as it gets.’ To hope was to expose yourself to the pain of disappointment – and it wasn’t worth it – so she closed down part of who she is. She has lived like that for 10 years and paid a heavy price in failed relationships because she dare not let anyone get near her. What a dilemma. She cannot afford to hope and cannot afford to not hope.
How has life turned out for you? To make life work have you closed down the part of you that contains your deepest feelings? Will it ever be safe to get in touch with who you are and live in all of it? You didn’t take that step lightly to close down. We all have our dreams and hopes and we don’t let them die easily but when you get knocked down, when what you are trying to express is persistently misunderstood, it can feel easier and safer to shut down.
There was a line a film I watched last night – ‘Don't let God go because you couldn't hear him when you needed to. Don't let hurt decide your faith.’ What damaged your trust; what took your hope? Go back to that fork in the road and hear these words, written some 700 years before Christ was born, ‘there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress’ and ‘the people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned’ (Isaiah 9:1-2).
Where there was no hope, now a light has dawned. And the basis of that hope is the child who would be born. He would bring a deep inner security and a sense of purpose and direction to life. He brings peace to the troubled heart. He gives us a solid reason to hope again. He makes us safe enough to not have to shut down any part of who we are. That is good news that we can take into this New Year will all its unknowns and challenges.
And, by the way, that young lady has discovered that she can hope again. She can’t turn the clock back and restore all those relationships but she can go forward, trusting in the Saviour born at Bethlehem. And so can you.