Hope of Christmas
Hope is often related to a desired expectation, and when it does not come as we anticipate, we are tempted to give in to fear, discouragement, and sometimes, despair. This past year has been one of perseverance as a spirit of fear has threatened our peace and joy and tested our faith. Hebrews 11:1 reminds us that "faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”. Faith does not assure us that what we wish for will come to pass, but that which God has purposed and planned for us will. We exercise and strengthen our faith when we choose faith and trust over fear and doubt.
Those of Old Testament days looked with hope for the promised Messiah to come. Today we celebrate His birth and look with hope to His return! The shepherd’s first response to the angel’s announcement of Jesus’ birth was that of fear followed by the angel’s charge “to be not afraid”. True hope was birthed that first Christmas and remains until His return!
While our nation is embroiled in political and social unrest and our very freedoms are being threatened, faith rather than fear is our only hope for navigating the storms of life until Jesus returns to take us home. God is still on the throne, and our hope is not in any political or even religious figure, but in Jesus Christ—the baby born in a manger over 2000 years ago.
We have not been promised a stress-free or painless journey through life’s trials and troubles. But He has promised, through the Holy Spirit, to see us through each one and to use all the pain, loss, and suffering in this life to grow us into more mature followers and fulfill His greater purposes through us. As we seek Him and trust Him day by day, we find our hope renewed and our spirits lifted.
Take time this Christmas to read and meditate on the account of Jesus’ birth in both Matthew 2 and Luke 2, and as you listen to Christmas music, may you be encouraged, your faith strengthened, and your hope renewed. Then share the hope of Christmas with others now and in the coming days. Blessings to each of you!
“And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.” Luke 2:16
Throughout the ages, men have known
Powerlessness, fear, despair,
And through the Holy Spirit’s power,
Found their sin too great to bear.
But God in love and mercy gave
His gift to all mankind,
His perfect, sinless, only Son,
That, in Him, new life we’d find.
For in the Christchild’s coming
On that first glad Christmas morn;
God set His plan in motion
And the source of HOPE was born.
And through His life and then His death,
His victory over the grave
He shed His blood that we might know
That life He died to save.
So in the midst of troubled times
Remember why He came;
Then in this hope, rejoice, give thanks,
And glorify His name.
Celebrate the freedom, joy,
From fear and worry cease;
Find comfort in His loving care
Receive His hope and peace.
Then share with other wandering souls
The truth, the light, the way;
The hope that Jesus brought to earth
That glorious Christmas Day!
© 2003, Doris Rouse
From Reflections of Christmas, © 2013
Doris Haver Rouse