Summary: We all need to treat our own dreams and the hopes of those around us with respect, because it is easier to crush someone’s hope than to be with them as they look towards a difficult future.
Hopes and Dreams- Langdon Christmas Service
(A Secure Forensic Hospital for patients with psychiatric and/or learning disabilities)
Christmas is quite a strange time, full of contradictions. For many, it is a time of happiness and excitement- for others, a time carrying many sad memories. But Christmas has always been like that, a time of confusion as well as a time of expectation, of hopes and dreams. We now look back on the virgin birth and see how God intervened in a miraculous way. Yet in the bible we read that Joseph was preparing to divorce Mary quietly. People they met would know that they weren’t married. So there was a lot of upset and confusion. The bible stories are also full of peoples dreams, of angels talking to Elizabeth and Mary. I have been reminded a lot about hopes and about dreams, both by other people and in my own life. What do we hope for? What do we dream of doing in our lives?
A chaplain working in another part of the country told me recently of how sad she was feeling, having joined one particular ward round and finding little sense of hope among the staff or patients. She was not looking for foolish dreaming or false expectations, but simple hope that life can find a way, no matter what the present tells us. All of our futures will never match up to the perfection we are sold through television, and may never begin to reach the dreams we hold dear, but this does not mean we should give up on dreaming. When dreams die, we can grieve their loss, but there is always room in life for dreams, whether these be grand or small, realistic or just fantasies.
One of my dreams is to be a bishop. Not that I want to do any of the things that I would have to do to become one. I just hold in my mind sometimes the dreams of I would do in that role.
We all need to treat our own dreams and the hopes of those around us with respect, because it is easier to crush someone’s hope than to be with them as they look towards a difficult future.
Some people go so far as to say that to loose dreams can be as bad as loosing people, the dreams of what we want to do in life, the dreams of time spent together. I feel quite sad when I hear of situations where experiences have shattered peoples imagination- don’t want to look at reality any more, for example the child soldiers in Mozambique. But I believe that we can find a way to grieve for the dreams we’ve lost, and that we can find healing so that positive dreams can find a place.
As the Christmas reading we heard earlier said, the dreams people had of what the messiah was going to do were not met, but he did find a way to plant in peoples hearts the dream of loving God and being loved or blessed by him, a dream open to us all.
I will finish just be reading some words from our first carol, ‘o little town of Bethlehem’- in thy dark streets shineth the everlasting light. The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee to-night.’
May we all find a way to explore and re-build our hopes and dreams over this Christmas and New Year, and may God find some way to meet them, even if it is in a way we never expected.