Listen for the hope at Christmas

Listen for the hope at Christmas

“Men are prisoners of their own minds.” —Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

When I was a kid, it seemed almost every week without exception the movie, “The Shawshank Redemption,” was on my screen. It tells the story of Andy Dufresne, who, although he was innocent, was in prison for killing his wife and her lover. The film was shot at the old Ohio State Reformatory in Mansfield. At first Andy kept to himself, but then he began to open up to a older prisoner called Red, who was known as the guy who smuggles contraband into the prison. Over time Andy and Red become good friends.

Before Andy went to prison, he was a banker. He knew how to make deals, and he made deals with the prison guards. It started when he overheard a guard tell his co-worker that his brother left him a lot of money and he’s worried about all the taxes. Andy told the guard that if he gifts it to his wife, he can keep every penny. Everything checked out, and Andy then did the tax returns for the whole staff and earned their trust.

The whole time Andy was trying to figure out how to escape. He told Red, if Red ever got out, to find a little wall of rocks under a big tree in a particular field, and there he would find money and directions as to where he should go. Andy did escape, and then a year later, Red was released. Red found a note and money, and the movie ended with them meeting on a beach in Mexico.

The note began, “Remember Red, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things.” Are you a prisoner in your mind to what other people think or in another kind of prison?

We make so many prisons out of so many things — job, school, home — and I can keep going. It is sad to feel stuck somewhere, where we are just another body. However, we can still make the most of it by having the attitude of Christ. Christmas is about the hope that Christ came so everyone can have a right relationship with God if we accept it. Sin has kept us in a prison, but if we accept his forgiveness, he will set us free.

After we get set free from sin, Jesus wants us to see what he sees. When we feel like we are in prison, look at the people around us. Maybe we are there to embrace other people with the hope only Jesus provides. Sometimes we get so focused on ourselves it amazes me we can notice other people. In my own life when I look beyond my problems to someone else, I am able to take care of my own problems.

Have we ever been thankful for listening to another person’s problems? We need to just listen to others sometimes and get over ourselves. Yes, we do matter, but when we listen to others, it can put everything into perspective. Try it once, and walk through the prison door.