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From Fly Creek

April 17, 2014

There's reason to hope


And not just ordinary hope. In daily speech, that word stands for little more than wistful wishing. “I hope it’s not going to rain,” someone says, with a worried glance toward the dark sky. 

But there’s much more to real hope than that. Even the dictionary says “HOPE IS THE FIRM EXPECTATION THAT WHAT IS DESIRED WILL SURELY OCCUR.” 

That’s a tough, more muscular stance than mere wishing.

Hope speaks when we say, “It’s not going to rain!” even as thunder roars and lightning splits the sky.

The Christmas story means to promise just that sort of tough, muscular hope. But it does so with a powerfully disarming image: Infinite power enters human life as a newborn infant. The one who justifies a sturdy hope begins the rescue by taking on our helplessness.

A powerful concept, that, and “O Little Town of Bethlehem” powerfully embodies it. The carol depicts humans shrouded in darkness, asleep under the silent march of distant, indifferent stars. But then it projects light, right into the darkness. It declares that our fears, and those of all the years, are defied, right in our dark streets. Our fears are met, matched, overcome by dazzling hope--by our firm belief that what is desired will surely occur.

That’s a magnificent promise. That’s enough to make oxen bow their massive heads and sink slowly, ponderously, to their knees.

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From Fly Creek
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    June 19, 2014

  • Replanting has taken root Lots of boxes still to be unpacked and stuff to be put on shelves and into closets, but Anne's and my shift into Cooperstown is almost done. We're securely replanted at 24 Delaware Street and already feeling at home.

    May 8, 2014

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    April 17, 2014

  • Let not thy left hand know That headline's a Bible allusion, trenchant advice not to preen when doing good: "But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth." Amen, I say.

    March 6, 2014

  • How good to be back! "Tis I, the Spirit of a Thousand Columns Past, back after a twelve-month silence to talk at you again in the flesh!"

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    December 5, 2013

  • Rolling toward a stop I’m slowing down, friends, rolling toward a stop for this column. The best way to describe my reason is through an analogy: I want you to think of me as a horse-drawn wagon and driver â€" not just as the driver, but as the whole shebang.

    December 27, 2012

  • Giving gnomes a home Whack a mole, if you must, but never a gnome. You'd enrage those who dote on them. And there are many such people, though maybe not as many as gnomes. Gnomes are everywhere.

    November 29, 2012

  • Hauling history home Anne and I have a trip ahead of us. We'll be trundling south in our bought-used-but-still-great Mercury Mountaineer SUV.

    November 15, 2012

  • 'So how's it going?' The headline is a question I get a dozen times a day, almost always from friends and neighbors who want a real answer. Bless them for that.

    October 18, 2012