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The Hope and Faith You Hold Onto

There is great joy in this season, but the more you know joy, the more you are aware of the struggle it stands against.

Stories of Hope blogger David Morris

Last week I visited the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit at the Discovery Center in Times Square, not far from the Guideposts offices here in New York. The Dead Sea Scrolls in Times Square? What a vivid contrast!

I marveled at the 30 or so sling stones used by the Assyrians who attacked the Judean King Hezekiah in Jerusalem in 701 BC. Those three- to four-inch round stones immediately brought to mind the story of David and Goliath, and gave me a new appreciation for the power of slingshots as weapons. I wondered at the skill of pottery makers in those days, crafting clay jars nearly four feet tall with small openings at the top. It was also interesting to consider how everyday people often determined their own way to worship in their homes, with their own altars, for example, despite the strict temple rules and restrictions we read about in the Old Testament.

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The bits of scrolls on display showed passages from the Psalms, Leviticus and Deuteronomy in ancient Hebrew. These were scrolls that the Israelites held onto as their most immediate link to God, especially during the exile to Babylon, when they had no temple and little in the way of religious artifacts. And now, millennia later, we hold onto them as links to a past that speaks from so much silence.

What sacred text will you hold onto this holiday season? In many ways Christmas is a time of both darkness and light. Not just in terms of the Earth’s position relative to the sun, but also in our own connection to family, near and far. Think of those folks with little or far-flung family. There is great joy in this season, but the more you know joy, the more you are aware of the struggle it stands against.

Each of us is often alone in the long darkness of winter nights. And yet we want to hope for something to hold onto. What will that be for you?

Season’s greetings to all. Thanks for reading these blog posts this year and I am looking forward to serving up more in the new year. Wishing you peace and hope.

“Christmas is not a date. It is a state of mind.” Mary Ellen Chase

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