It’s easy for it to get lost in the shuffle of busy hearts, overflowing minds and crowded schedules.
I feel that if I don’t put it on my to-do list, it wafts away like smoke from a blown-out candle.
Don’t forget to hope. Check.
It’s really what this season is all about.
Not Happy Holidays. Happiness comes and goes with a tweak of our circumstances.
Not Merry Christmas. Being merry is an emotion that can be overshadowed by grief and heartache and loss.
Not presents. I’ve seen the fickleness of kids and grandkids who yearn for a gift, must have a certain something. Only to have it cast aside before the New Year.
Not celebrations. So many of them are stressful because everyone wants to have parties three weeks in December that should be stretched out over a twelve-month period. And going makes folks crazy with needing to talk to whomever, even though you may not see whomever most of the year. Not wanting to eat too much because a resolution to lose weight is waiting to pounce on them in less than a month. Wondering if the hostess gift–or lack of one–will tank relationships that hadn’t been considered until the invitation arrived.
Hope is something that lasts because it’s born in love and purpose. Not our love. Not our purposes.
It’s what drove a young betrothed girl of thirteen to fifteen years to rejoice when she found, from an angel, that she was carrying the Son of God. Even though it set her up for ridicule, judgment, rejection and possible death because of perceived unfaithfulness.
It’s what drove her young man, who had not yet had relations with her, to believe that what was happening was really of God. It’s what gave him the strength to bear the criticism and mocking of others.
It’s what moved men from the east to venture out of their country, out of the safety of their land, to travel far for a promise they’d heard in the prophecies, a reality they’d seen in the heavens.
It’s what encouraged shepherds, society’s low men on the totem pole in that day, to not hide in the rocks when they saw and heard the angel tell of the birth of a King; when they were treated to the very first rendition of the Hallelujah chorus. For real. The new King’s first visitors. Because of hope.
It’s what allowed people to see past the face of the gentle Carpenter to see Jesus for who He is. The Source of hope.
Whether or not people agree with this changes nothing. The hope of the Messiah, God with us, doesn’t rest on the belief of anyone.
Hope is what we have because God chose to love us. As is.
“For a Child is born to us, a Son is given to us. The government will rest upon His shoulders. And He will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His government and its peace will never end.” Isaiah 9:6-7a
He is hope. In a Person. For all who will receive the gift of love He offers.
May you have a hope-filled Christmas.
First photo courtesy of sodahead.com.
Second photo courtesy of infed.org.
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