Lance Morrow: “Christmas speaks above all of hope. There’s also hope’s big brother, courage.”

From an essay on by Lance Morrow headlined “Christmas in the Midst: Hope endures if courage and faith can”:

Christmas speaks of new life, eternity touching history in the sweetest way: God comes to us in the person of a baby—the synecdoche of the Incarnation. Christmas is the first step on the path to Calvary, of course—and thence, in the Christian scheme of things, to Redemption. Ad astra, per aspera: you reach heaven by a hard road. Christmas speaks above all of hope.

There’s also hope’s big brother, courage.

Oddly enough, in this bizarre year of politics and pandemic, the final words of John Kennedy’s inaugural address came drifting back to me: “Let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth God’s work must truly be our own.”

Kennedy considered courage to be the most important of all virtues. Hope works best when fortified by courage. When we undertake the hard work of courage, the labor is truly our own. That’s what Kennedy meant. The test of courage is whether it can be summoned up even after hope is gone.

What I come to Christmas this year seeking—what I pray for in the middle of the night when I am keeping monk’s hours—is strength and courage, mostly: for myself, for all of us….


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