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A Sign of Hope

Dear Friends,

Midwinter’s day was on 21st December and with all the snow and ice this winter it really felt as if we were in the middle of the winter season! Now the hours of daylight are getting longer, but January and February are often hard for many people. The lights and colour of the Christmas decorations have gone and with the lack of sunshine and drab days the winter seems to drag on. This is the time of year the snow drops appear.

Snowdrops have become a sign of hope. There is a legend that when Adam and Eve were banished from the Garden of Eden, Eve began to give up hope that the cold winters would ever end. An angel appeared and transformed some of the snowflakes into snow drop flowers as a sign that new life will come, winters do become spring.

Snowdrops are also called ‘Candlemas bells’ because they appear around Candlemas time, 2nd February. This is the time in the Christian calendar that remembers Mary and Joseph taking their baby Jesus to the Temple in Jerusalem and meeting two very elderly people of faith, Anna and Simeon, who had been waiting and longing for the coming of God’s Saviour for many years. They were overjoyed to recognise the fulfilment of their hopes in Jesus.

Not surprisingly, people who hope are happier people, according to research; they achieve more, they cope with difficult situations better and they can tolerate higher levels of pain. The actor Christopher Reeve who was paralysed in a riding accident said "Once you choose hope, anything's possible." Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.

Some people are naturally hopeful but the good news from the psychologists is that hopefulness can be learned, hopefulness is an attitude that can be chosen.

 "If you lose hope, somehow you lose the vitality that keeps life moving, you lose that courage to be, that quality that helps you go on in spite of it all. And so today I still have a dream." ~Martin Luther King, Jr.

With my hopes that you may know many blessings this year,