In his book, Man’s Search For Meaning, Victor Frankl tells of his years trapped in the indescribable horrors of Auschwitz and Dachau. He was transported there like a despised animal, given two minutes to strip naked or be whipped, every hair was shaved from his body, and he was condemned to a living death. His father, mother, brother, and wife died in the in the camps or were sent to the gas ovens. His existence was full of cold, fear, starvation, pain, lice and vermin, dehumanization, exhaustion and terror.
Frankl wrote that he was able to survive because he never lost the quality of hope. Those prisoners who lost faith in the future were doomed. When a prisoner lost hope, Frankl said, he let himself decline, becoming subject to mental and physical decay. He would die from the inside out.
Frankl said that this usually happened quite suddenly. One morning a prisoner would just refuse to get up. He wouldn’t get dressed or wash or go outside to the parade grounds. No amount of pleading by his fellow prisoners would help. no threatening by the guards would have any effect. Losing all hope, he had simply given up. He would lay there in his own excrement till he died. American soldiers later told Frankl that this behavior pattern existed also among prisoners of war, and was called "give-up-itis".
When a prisoner lost hope, said Frankl, "he lost his spiritual hold."
What Frankl talks about is an extreme example. Hitler and the Nazi’s tried to perfect the art of destroying a person’s hope, but even despite their best efforts many like Frankl found hope. Frankl hope was that it was not the end, there was a future
Everyday around the world people are giving up hope. They look at the circumstances of their lives and figure what’s the use. We as the jewel of God’s creation have an enemy that will do anything to rob a human being of hope. His name is Satan. He feeds on our despair. Jesus calls him the thief who only comes to kill, steal and destroy. John 10:10a. Oh, he will sometimes give them a false hope, but then will delight in taking it away from them.
He has lied to us. Told us we are nothing more than animals and have no hope after death except to cease to exist. He fills the media with much that tries to debunk Jesus and His birth and resurrection, especially around this time of the year. A time when we remember our savior’s birth. National Geographic is running a program on a well known channel claiming that Mary Jesus mother was a loose woman, well known for her sleeping with Roman soldiers and that Jesus became Mary Magdelaine’s pimp and that they themselves had a relationship. They also claim that Jesus as a boy used his powers to cripple a boy after the boy told on him about making clay pigeons. I’ve lost all respect for National Geographic to say the least. They have based their views on Gnostic teachings which were debunked by the apostles in the first century. (For further reading; http://www.equip.org/free/DG040-1.htm and http://www.equip.org/free/DG040-2.htm )
Christmas used to be called the season of hope but many are now working to make it much less. It is now called the Winter Festival. More people lose their hope around this time of year than any others. They give up and many out of despair commit suicide or turn to drugs or alcohol. Before I came to Christ, it used to be the loneliest time of the year for me even with the parties and festivities. Without Christ and the recognition of our need of Him we will always carry an emptiness that can not be filled by anything or anyone but Him.
In the second part of John 10:10 Jesus says, I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows). (AMP) He came to restore hope to the world. To let the world know that we were not alone and to do this God sent His only Son, Jesus.
One of my favorite passages to read during this time of year is John chapter 1:1-18 (NKJV)
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world.
He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
John bore witness of Him and cried out, saying, “This was He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me is preferred before me, for He was before me.’”
And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace. For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.
Jesus is the Light of the world. In darkness and despair it is very hard to find our way. In darkness you can trip and fall without seeing clearly, unsure what objects have been put in your path. Not able to see your destination. Sin and separation from God does that. It becomes very easy to despair. But when light shines, all is seen. We know our destination and can see it clearly. Letting sin in puts back in the darkness and our view of eternity becomes clouded.
As we remember Christ’s birth this Christmas Season also remember those who have lost or are losing hope. Those who live in the darkness
“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:14-16 (NKJV)
There are so many hungry for hope. So many who have not seen the Light. It’s our job to bring that Light to them. Jesus died for everyone, not just a select few and the hope we have and the Light we bear is for all. What better time than now to share His message to those in darkness and despair.
May you and your families and friends be blessed in such a way in this season of light, that the Light shines so bright in you that all will know that you indeed "Take a Stand For Jesus"!
Gerry Desjardins and Family