Hope gets stirred up during December through the anticipation Christmas gifts. Kids look forward to having their favorite toy or video game to be under the tree. Families plan get-togethers for their holiday traditions. It sparkles in a child’s eyes waiting to see Santa Claus.
But in the temporary wrappings of the season, many struggle with despair.
Sadness reflects in many grownups’ eyes. Loss, grief and fear hide beneath the surface in people’s hearts and minds. The superficial happiness of red and green ribbons and twinkling lights magnifies depression in some. When we look for hope in the wrong places, we get discouraged and disillusioned. We become overwhelmed with stress. Hope becomes just an ordinary word in a sentimental song.
True hope does not come from our desires or wishes, but from God.
Several of the traditional Christmas carols speak of hope and promise in the birth of Jesus. The songs tell the story of God’s people waiting for the coming Messiah. Here is an example:
from O Little Town of Bethlehem, written by Phillip Brooks in 1857:
O Little Town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie, Above the deep and dreamless sleep the silent stars go by. Yet in thy dark streets shineth, the everlasting light, the hope and fears of all the years are met in theetonight.
Listen carefully to the words the next time one is on the radio.
The ultimate source of hope is the Lord Jesus Christ, born at Christmas.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 NIV
This is shown in the following contemporary song:
Because of the birth of Jesus, relationship with God is restored. He was the Promise that opened the way for our relationship with God the Father.
“Through him (Jesus) you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God.” 1 Peter 1:21 NIV
God gives us true hope for today and the future.
“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 15:13 NIV.
Look beyond the tinsel for the best gift of Christmas, the restored relationship with God.
Next in the Words for Christmas blog series: Traditions