If there ever was a time when the world needs the Christmas message of Hope, it is today. On all sides we are confronted by the prophets of gloom and doom. The environ mentalists foresee a dismal future of man’s greed consuming the earth. The population control specialists predict the world is running out of space.
The economic forecasters tell us that inflation will be with us for years, and we will continue to be short of oil. Henry Kissinger takes a defeatist view of foreign affairs and says that the United States “could not win an arms race” against the Soviets and therefore must accept whatever terms they demand.
All these dire warnings from the experts are having a depressing effect. From the American worker concerned about keeping his job, to the Israeli soldier who worries about his country’s survival, the attitude is growing that the future is bleak and that our fate is controlled by powerful forces over which we have no control.
Our religion teaches that we must avoid both Presumption and Despair. Presumption is the sin of believing that God will take care of everything so there is no need for the individual to do anything to improve himself. Despair is the sin of believing that all is lost, that nothing we can do will make any difference.
It is time for each of us to listen to the Christmas message of Hope — the invitation to men of good will every where to tread a narrow line of faith and action that succumbs neither to Presumption nor to Despair.
To have Hope is not to be a Pollyanna or a chaser of rainbows, but to be pragmatically realistic. In 1939, the New York World’s Fair was called “The World of Tomorrow.” The best intellectual, scientific, and business minds came there to display their most imaginative ideas for the coming decade.
Yet, look at all the major areas of invention and progress they missed: jet airplanes, transistors, computers, antibiotics, nuclear energy, and space travel. The reality of progress turned out to be more spectacular than man’s most vivid imagination.
The truth is that there is no ceiling on man’s ingenuity and resourcefulness to cope with problems — so long as we operate in the American climate of freedom. When we combine the Christmas message of Hope, with the can-do philosophy that carved our great nation out of the wilderness, we will surely find that our future is brighter than any of us could ever dream.