Christmas-Renewed Hope

We had gone to visit our daughter and her family for Thanksgiving. Yup, we were one of those couples who flew across country on Thanksgiving Day! What were we thinking?? Ha, this grandma was thinking, “I’ll fly on any day to see those grandbabies who are growing up faster than I’d like”.
 
So now we have transitioned from the season of Thanksgiving into Christmas. I usually put my Christmas decorations and tree up the weekend of Thanksgiving. Since we were gone, I have been a little slow in getting everything done.
 
 
Christmas is such a mixed bag of emotions, isn’t it? At least for me it is, how about you?
 
For many people Christmas is a happy time with family, friends, fellowship, holiday foods and gift giving. Most Christians observe this as a time of celebration and thanksgiving for the greatest gift ever given, the Lord Jesus Christ, “God with us” (Matthew 1:23).
 
But for others, Christmas is just the exact opposite. It can be a reminder of lost loved ones or no close family to celebrate with. Many are going through hard times and tough situations. Instead of feeling joy, many people feel sad, anxious and depressed. Christmas can potentially be a time of hopelessness and loneliness.
 
I was at the hospital yesterday with a mom who is 29 weeks pregnant and fighting to keep her little baby girl alive. She feels hopeless.
 
A pastor’s wife who has been hurt from church members leaving the church and she sees the church dwindling. She’s trying to stand on the promises of God, but the battle is hard.
 
A store owner who is seeing a dream die as she closes her shop. She wonders why this is all happening.
 
A woman who is fighting cancer trying to hold on to life.
 
Another mom who finds herself a single mom trying to provide for her children.
 
A wife who feels she’s in a loveless, hopeless marriage.
 
The list could go on of people I have talked with trying to share the hope and love of Christ.
 
It makes my heart so sad when I hear the despair and hopelessness in one’s voice. I remind them how much the Lord loves them and how He is near to the brokenhearted. But I can’t do this for them. None of us can do what only the Spirit of God can do. They have to know in their heart of hearts that the God of Hope is for them and these difficult times are but a moment in time. God is perfecting His character in each of us. I’ve lived long enough to know that this only comes through trials and the struggles of living this life.

Romans 5:1-5 tells us: “We can rejoice, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.”

 
In Scripture hope means a strong and confident expectation. “But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.” (Romans 8:25). We believe in God’s promises and confidently hope for the results in our lives.
 
Hope is tied to faith—believing that, no matter what, God is going to take care of us. No matter how bleak things in this life can become, we have to believe that we will get through it. God is giving us every opportunity to grow and overcome, so we can handle the responsibilities He intends us to have in His Kingdom.
 
God is developing us and preparing us for His purpose.
 
Christmas should be a time of renewed hope—hope in Jesus Christ; hope that, despite all our tangled messes, God will bring order out of chaos.
 
I love this verse in Romans 4:18… “Even when there was no reason for hope, Abraham kept hoping—believing that he would become the father of many nations. For God had said to him, “That’s how many descendants you will have!”
 
Abraham believed God, he had hope and so can you. No matter what level your hope indicator is at, this Christmas season may you be like Abraham and keep hoping.
 
This Christmas season rejoice that Jesus came to give you something better than the disappointments of life on planet earth. And when by faith you embrace Him and all that He promised, you can have a hope that is not a fingers-crossed wish that you harbor in your heart, but rather a confident, courageous optimism that is rooted in the certainty of His Word.
 
I cannot promise that you’ll be healed, or your upside-down world will be turned right-side up. But I can promise that this hope we have in Christ will not disappoint.
 
“Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls.” Hebrews 6:17-19
 
Jesus—Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace, King of Kings and Lord of Lords is for you. He loves you.

Merry Christmas to you, my friend. May you be filled with renewed hope as we celebrate the birth of Christ—Emmanuel—God with us.
 
Peace & love,
Jeannine