Waiting for a bus one day near my home, I saw a man standing nearby. He was noticeably intoxicated, but his speech was clear enough to understand. He said to me, "I wish the bombs would start dropping." I told him that I was doing what I could so that they wouldn't. We got on the bus, and he sat across from me. He leaned over and said again, "I wish those bombs would start falling." I asked him why, and he replied, "Then I would die and go to heaven, and I wouldn't have to worry anymore."
His comment was at once hopeless and hopeful: he was hopeless about avoiding a nuclear disaster, but hopeful about his future once the bombs started dropping. I doubt that he had weighed all the suffering that might come between the dropping of the bombs and his going to heaven.
The hope of a life beyond the one here, where broken ties with loved ones and friends will be renewed, is a sustaining belief for me. I do not fear dying because I believe that physical death means spiritual fulfillment, but I do fear how my physical death will come about. Whether or not my intoxicated friend had considered it, the means of one's death is certainly humanity's haunting fear as we face the real possibility of a nuclear holocaust.
For a Christian, Jesus is the supreme sustainer of hope. He went about everywhere kindling hope; in his presence it sprang up in human hearts like flowers at the touch of the sun. His advent was like the sunrise in a world where people were traveling in the dark.