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A prayer of hope for the holidays

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Christmas is hard for people who grieve. They remember other Christmases filled with memories and laughter, and grief becomes overwhelming. Or perhaps Christmas is their loneliest time, without any cherished memories, which makes it that much harder to be festive. Is Christmas hard for you? Does it make you feel hopeless? Just since December began, I've attended one funeral, watched one on television, and revised my family, whom I haven't seen since my mom died. Collectively, grief is strong and real. But I do not grieve as one without hope ( 1 Cor. 15:18-20 ). Perhaps that is why we sing the "Messiah" at Christmas. Hope began with the birth of a baby, but hope continues through Jesus' resurrection and  his predicted triumphant return. Hope culminates with the " Hallelujah Chorus ." (Turn up the volume--it's the Mormon Tabernacle Choir!) This Christmas, pray this prayer of hope. Hope dispels grief. Hope gives suffering a context and a