By his great mercy he has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. (1 Peter 1:3 NRSV)

Jane McAdams tells about her sixty-nine-year-old mother. Her mother lived through the Great Depression of the 1930s. It left its mark on her. She was never extravagant with her spending.

Jane's mother was in the hospital diagnosed with cancer. When Jane met with the doctors, her mother was given very little hope. Jane feared the moment when she would have to tell her mother that she was dying. In her struggles Jane thought to herself, "Should I tell my mother? Did she already know? If not, did she suspect? Could I give her any hope?"

Her mother's birthday was approaching. Jane thought she would go and buy her mother a new nightgown, something her mother would have never bought for herself. When she presented the gift to her mother, her mother looked at the nightgown for the longest time. "Would you mind returning it to the store?" her mother asked, "I don't really want it." Jane was surprised at her mother's request and asked her what she would like for her birthday. Her mother pointed to an advertisement for expensive designer summer purses.

Jane admits that her reaction was one of disbelief. Why would her mother, so careful about extravagances, want an expensive summer purse in January, one that she could not possibly use until June? Jane doubted her mother would live until spring, let alone summer. She came to the realization that what her mother really wanted to know was how long her daughter thought she would live. Jane went and bought the expensive summer purse. She knew her mother well enough to know that, if possible, she would never let it go to waste.

That was many years ago. The purse is worn out and long gone as are at least half a dozen others. The gift of the purse gave her mother a new sense of hope. Jane's mother just celebrated her eighty-third birthday. Jane bought her, you guessed it, the most expensive designer purse she could find. "She'll use it well," Jane says.

There is a lot of power in the hope we have in Jesus Christ.

Loving God, thank you for the hope you give me in Jesus your son. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Ron Newhouse

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