by Ken Rolheiser
2020 Another Decade of Hope 

Wow! We made it to 2020! We are all enjoying improved vision now that we see 2020. My key word for this year is HOPE.

A retired man visiting a hospital plays his keyboard, tells some jokes and sings. When he finished he says, “Goodbye. I hope you get better." One patient replies, "I hope you get better, too."

Can you guess which entertainer in the last century was great at singing and telling jokes, who entertained the troops for 50 years, who made movies with Bing Crosy, advocated for the release of Viet Nam prisoners of war, and worked to improve the lives of military service men?

A hint for those who are younger: Addressing the troops one Christmas he said, “Hope springs eternally. For cover!” I still recount some of Bob Hope’s jokes. Hosting the Academy Awards he quipped, “At our house we call this the Passover.”

Though he never won a best actor award, Hope did win five Honorary Academy Awards including a Humanitarian Award. Another of his movie jokes I recall whenever we hit a large Saskatchewan pothole. “If we hit another bump like that, there’ll be two rear ends dragging!”

New Years 2020 liturgical readings in my church include Numbers 6:22-27, which include a blessing of God on the Israelites. 
“The LORD bless you and keep you!
The LORD let his face shine upon
you, and be gracious to you!
The LORD look upon you kindly and
give you peace!”

Psalm 67 continues the blessing and adds joy and gladness for the Lord’s guidance of the nations on earth.
“May the peoples praise you, O God;
may all the peoples praise you!
May God bless us,
and may all the ends of the earth fear him!”

And one of the greatest blessings we have is expressed in Galatians 4:4-7: We are no longer slaves but heirs, through God. And to reiterate the promise and joy of the incarnation, Luke’s Gospel 2:16-20 tells us how the shepherds came to Bethlehem, saw and went out glorifying God and spreading the word which has now reached billions of people.

This is our cause to celebrate another year of Grace 2020! Hope fills us even surrounded by earth’s problems and mankind’s troubles. The Kingdom will continue to come, and Jesus is among us.

To underline the joy that HOPE brings us, I will share a few of Bob’s best quotes: “No one party can fool all of the people all of the time; that's why we have two parties.” “I don't do a lot of political jokes. Too many are getting elected.”

And for those who are making dietary resolutions for the new Year Hope says: “The older you get, the tougher it is to lose weight, because by then your body and your fat are really good friends.”

And just for fun here are some comments on life:
 “I love flying. I've been to almost as many places as my luggage.” 
“She said she was approaching forty, and I couldn't help wondering from what direction.”
“A bank is a place that will lend you money if you can prove that you don't need it.”
“I'll tell 'ya how to stay young: Hang around with older people.”

God Bless you and have a New Year filled with love and hope and smiles.

(557 words)