Christmas is one of those times when hope is alive, especially in the hearts of children. Christmas lists are made in hope. I am old enough to remember when the Sears Christmas Wish Book showed up and became tattered by us when we thumbed through the pages, dreaming of what might show up on Christmas morning. Anticipation built as ‘the day’ came closer, when Mom transformed our home with decorations of the Season.
As I grew older, the gifts were no longer of much importance but hope remained, the anticipation of seeing family members, of spending time with those I loved. With the realization of life’s brevity hope in things eternal has become even more real for me.
Few things are as tragic as a person who has lost hope. In a world where evil is real, where pain is not just imagined, we can lose sight of tomorrow. Chronic illness, a thousand little disappointments, financial ruin, rejection by those we love, and missed expectations are just a few reasons that hope fades, replaced with grim resignation or despair.
I want to invite you to find hope, to anchor your hope in the eternal promise of God, to experience the kind of hope that is available to all regardless of circumstance, personal wealth, or family heritage! In the middle of those situations that are inexplicable, when life defies our best efforts at change, there is a Savior Whose love is offered to all, available to be received by faith. He is the Hope of this Advent season and He gives hope.
Paul, inspired by the Spirit, teaches us of the power of hope. “Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.” (Romans 8:23-25, NIV)
Take note of the place of hope’s anticipation in his words. Yes, Christ has saved us but the full experience of that salvation is still a promise. In hope we know that we are not yet all that we will be. We continue to wrestle with temptation. We live in a world where the bad guys win too often. But, we have HOPE that the Kingdom will come, that our salvation which is secured by Christ’s death and resurrection, will be completed because His promises are ‘yes and amen!’
As I meditated on that Scripture passage today, I remembered this quote from C. S. Lewis that urges us to raise our hope to higher things. “It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.” – C. S. Lewis Let’s not try to satisfy our longing for real and rich life with the trinkets of this present world. Let us pray to see Jesus, to love Him, making Him our true hope, our joy, the reason we live.
Today, are you holding onto hope?
If your life is dark with disappointment, take your broken heart to Jesus.
If you are marred and scarred by sins past, let Jesus take the guilt and shame and replace them with His joy.
If you fear the future so that you have lost hope today, trust Jesus, the One who knows all our tomorrows.
He is our Hope!
Here is the word from the Word. My prayer is that God’s truth will inspire hope in us today.
“And again, Isaiah says, “The Root of Jesse will spring up, one who will arise to rule over the nations; the Gentiles will hope in him.” May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:12-13, NIV)
(Video of this blog at this link)
O Come O Come Emmanuel (Veni Emmanuel)
O come O come Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear
Rejoice rejoice Emmanuel
Shall come to thee O Israel
O come Thou Dayspring come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night
And death’s dark shadows put to flight
O come Thou Wisdom from on high
And order all things far and nigh
To us the path of knowledge show
And cause us in her ways to go
O come Desire of nations bind
All peoples in one heart and mind
Bid envy strife and quarrels cease
Fill the whole world with heaven’s peace
John Mason Neale | Thomas Helmore
© Words: Public Domain