In 1974, an event touched my heart and stayed with me, leading to a major decision 23 years later that I absolutely do not regret. It wasn't Watergate or the disbanding of the Beatles. It was a television event, and I fell in love with a name, Hope.
I'm going to show my age. I grew up with 3 television stations and no DVDs or videos. I grew up in a world where teenagers watched soap operas, so a few hours before Gilligan's Island and The Brady Bunch, I watched Days of Our Lives. Here's a little Days, that's what we called the show, history.
Addie Horton discovered that she was pregnant but also ill with Leukemia. Instead of harming the baby with treatments, she let the cancer take its course. Addie and Doug named their first and only child Hope. Soon afterwards, as Addie was walking one day with her daughter, a car spun out towards them, and Addie (realizing she wouldn't live long) pushed Hope's stroller to safety and let the car hit her instead, killing her instantly.
This was the perfect, emotionally touching event for a Days loving adolescent girl, and I remember thinking, "what a beautiful name, so positive," and because I often dreamed of prince charming, a house, and perfect children, Hope was placed in the back of my head for a future baby name that was 5th in line behind Whitney, Janie, Anastasia, and Shelly.
Each time I read a verse with the word hope, especially Hebrews 11:1 "Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see," I feel in love with the name again. I was a daydreamer with many hopes.
My Grandmother King ,a gracious, sociable lady who enjoyed time with friends and family, was ill and suffered with an immune deficiency for many years. Seeing her ill so often, I once said to her, "I know you're tired of always being sick." She replied, "Honey, where there is life, there is Hope." I remembered those words when I was pregnant and heard, "That's an old name, isn't it?" and "There are so many popular names to choose from, what about....." But, I didn't waver. On December 18, 1995, one week before Christmas, baby Susannah Hope was born.
Hope wasn't the most popular name for a baby then nor is it now, but I look at her with a mother's heart and believe she genuinely lives up to her name. Even though she's a big fan of Grumpy Cat, Hope can light up a room, and she offers so much to her world: patience, kindness, laughter, and compassion. I cannot imagine a world without my Hope.
"And his name will be the hope of all the world." Matthew 12:21
What a beautiful reason for God to come to earth. I cannot imagine life without the hope of all the world, Jesus.
....what we hope for. I hope for so much: material and selfish things, of course. I hope for good health for myself, my family, and my friends. I hope for the best life even though I often don't know what that looks like, which is where faith enters the picture even though I remain a daydreamer. I also hope for peace and salvation for family, friends, and people I meet.
I hope the world will see Christ as salvation and hope, but I also realize there are serious reasons for many to feel hopeless: poor health, poverty, relationship problems, depression, loss, and uncertainties. But, there is hope.
In Taylor Caldwell's short story, "My Christmas Miracle," packages from a stranger arrive unexpectedly on Christmas Eve to a single mother with a hungry daughter and no job. And she writes, "and a sweet peace flooded me like a benediction. I had some hope again." Even in the darkest times, there is hope.
It's the perfect season to offer hope to all the world. We do this through Salvation Army Bell Ringers, Angel Trees with names of strangers, gifts to co-workers and neighbors in need, encouragement to friends with life-changing uncertainties, visits to families who feel forgotten. With every dollar given, present unwrapped, meal cooked, hospital corridor walked, or encouragement offered, we give a promise. There is hope.
Isaiah said, “The heir to David’s throne will come, and he will rule over the Gentiles. They will place their hope on him.” I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15: 12-13
Anderson Area Charity in Need: New Foundations Children and Youth Services in Anderson, South Carolina. http://newfoundationschildren.com/
A story of hope and good Christmas read, written by a dear friend and author, Laura Hodges Poole: "A Christmas Chance." https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23487371-a-christmas-chance
A recent sermon on hope, December 7, 2014, from Shandon Baptist Church in Columbia, S.C. : http://www.shandon.org/sermons/
Two short stories about the hope we can bring to others during this season:
"My Christmas Miracle" by Taylor Caldwell
"A Gift of the Heart" by Norman Vincent Peale
During my "research," on Wikipedia, I found an interesting fact about the actress who played Addie Horton on Days of Our Lives. Patricia Barry played Addie from April 19, 1971 to June 28, 1974. Barry reprised her role as Addie for one episode on December 18, 1974.