One of the marks of a Christian is the palpable joy that radiates from their being; it separates them from the rest of humanity.
In general, each member of human race moves through their life from one unknown to the next. We make plans and hope that they come to fruition – the future is in the shadows. But that is a fearful hope; we are worried it won’t happen and hope the fear does not come true.
Christian hope, on the other hand, is a joyful hope; it is based on knowing what will happen and desiring it; it is based on Christ Himself. This hope is based on knowing what will happen because of what He guaranteed to us in the past. It is waiting for the promise in His final appearance because of what He revealed in His first appearance. It is embracing the future now because the future is here – now – His presence isn’t returning – it is here now. The future is not in the shadows; it is light itself.
A Christian’s hope is based on knowing that God’s love surrounds us and guides us and energizes us regardless of what is thrown at us on our journey. ‘Like a shepherd he feeds his flock; in his arms he gathers the lambs, carrying them in his bosom, and leading the ewes with care.’ we hear from Isaiah today. This is not a proclamation of the fearful hope for those who wait for a shadowy unknown – it is a peaceful, joyful, assuring hope of someone who waits for Christ – with Christ – within His light.
The only fear a Christian will have is that we forget that Christ is with us every moment of our journey – that we fall into the numbing fearful hope that mankind is mired in when they turn within, shutting God’s light out. This is why Jesus gave us His bride, Holy Mother Church, to make level the path, to keep us from being lost in the shadows of our own making, to lead us to the heights of love so His light will warm us and lead us.
‘Rise up, Jerusalem! stand upon the heights … see the joy that comes to you from God! … For God is leading Israel in joy by the light of his glory.’