The Hopes and Fears of All the Years

Merry Christmas!

I woke up this morning and was immediately filled with a deep sense of peace and joy. I love this season of celebration and family and friends and gospel. As I pondered on the feeling, I had clearly in my minds eye that trip so long ago from the hills of Nazareth to the humble village of Bethlehem. I pondered the many miracles–probably small in the eyes of most and maybe not even miracles in the eyes of some–that led to a simple stable with a simple manger. I love the story of His birth.

As I thought, the words from the hymn O Little Town of Bethlehem came into my mind, particular this line:

The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.

Hope makes sense. The Savior brought with Him an incredible feeling of hope for many who had waited long for His arrival. We, like the Jews of old, look forward to the time when He will come again. We hope on the thought that He will lift us from grief and pain. We hope for the gifts of salvation and healing that He brings.

But fear? Why was fear there that night?

As I pondered that idea, I came to feel that fear was not a towering power that night. It was the weakness and worry that we all carry with us. That night, it came as a humble lamb to witness what it saw as opportunity.

I think of my own fears and worries. So much of what scares me about the future, about the success of my children, and about the direction of the world can be tied up in that same fear. It’s not a fear that diminishes me or binds me. It’s a fear that pleads for help from the Source of all good help.

There were many witnesses that night, be them shepherds or angels. Carpenters or mothers. Hope and fear. Faithful hope and pleading fear.

Merry Christmas!

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