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Forum Editorial: The hope of Christmas season is for everyone

Hope fills our lives with meaning. Hope propels this time on earth forward even during an uncertain future. And Christians see that hope come alive. But there is so much room to celebrate hope during this season of light, that no one has to be excluded. In fact, that would be a travesty of its own.

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In the rush to ship all the packages, bake all the cookies, decorate the house and plan the parties, we often forget what it is that we actually celebrate at Christmas.

Our rampant consumerism and our unrealistic expectations of ourselves and each other make it easy to turn Christmas into a checklist to complete versus a celebration of Jesus’ birth some 2,000 years ago in the most unkingly of circumstances: to two poor and unprivileged teenage parents, in a barn surrounded by livestock, alone and so far from home.

The story of Jesus’ birth can seem quaint to our 21st-century mindset, making us forget just how miraculous it was. But the birth of Jesus is significant because it tells the story of a God who loved creation so much he became incarnate to intimately know the joys and suffering of all.

The birth of Jesus helps us understand that God is not a distant and silent creator, but one who is actively interested in the happenings of his earthly creation. In Jesus, God came to live among his people in flesh and blood! And thus we celebrate the birth of our heavenly king, who ushered in a new age that is toppling earthly empires, conquering death and bringing forth the hope of salvation for all of creation past, current and future.

However, even as many millions of Christians celebrate Christmas, of course we understand that not every faith tradition believes in the birth of Jesus. So if it is too much for you to believe that a baby born 2,000 years ago was God made flesh, take heart in that Christmas at its elemental core is a celebration of hope. Christmas is a season of light, and a celebration of knowing that as dire as our earthly circumstances can be, there is always hope for a better future.

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It is hope that allows us to believe that we can go on as a nation, healing wounds and righting wrongs. It is hope that allows us to believe it is not yet too late to heal a planet that we’ve badly scarred. And it is hope that allows us to believe that people around the globe and with vast differences can connect on the most basic levels of mutual love and respect.

Hope fills our lives with meaning. Hope propels this time on earth forward even during an uncertain future. And Christians see that hope come alive in the birth of a future king in the most humble of circumstances, and that is why we celebrate Christmas.

But there is so much room to celebrate hope during this season of light, that no one has to be excluded. In fact, that would be a travesty of its own.

Christ knows no boundaries, and neither does hope. And this Christmas we know that we could use a lot more of both.

This editorial is the opinion of the editorial board of our sister publication, The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead.

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