Christmas time has always been my favorite. For weeks leading up to Christmas, store advertisements and television commercials are covered in sparkle and glitter. Christmas carols play non-stop, the aroma of pine trees and cinnamon fill the air, and we bake our favorite cookies to enjoy with hot cocoa. The anticipation and hope for Christmas is everywhere. And yet, what exactly are we really hoping for?
As a child, I looked forward to Christmas with an innocent, trusting faith. I remember making a paper chain with twenty-four alternating red and green loops representing the December days leading to the big day. Each night, I tore off one of the loops, and as the chain got shorter and shorter, I knew Christmas day was closer, too. I knew with certainty when the loops were all torn off, Christmas day would arrive. I hoped with expectancy for the day to come, and each year that hope was fulfilled when, indeed, Christmas did come.
Our readings this week focus on the theme of hope. The definition of hope in the dictionary is the following: a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen. In other words, to hope for something means that we want something to happen. We often tell others we hope to see them soon or we hope they feel better. When we say this, we may really want this to happen… but we don’t know for certain that it will happen.
In the Bible, hope is different. In the Bible, hope is the confident expectation of what God has promised and its strength is in His faithfulness. With hope in the Bible, we can be certain. Our hope is placed in God and rests firmly on His promises. When life sends us trials and joys, God wants us to put our hope in Him and Him alone.
“For I know the plans that I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.” ~Jeremiah 29:11
As an adult, my hope is no longer in the day of Christmas, but rather in what that day represents. My hope is in the birth of my Savior Jesus Christ. I have a confident expectancy in His love and power. I know for certain He came to earth to die for my sins so that I could be reconciled with God. I know for certain He rose from the dead three days later. I know for certain He will return to take me home. I know for certain that I can trust His plans for me and put my hope in Him. I know for certain He will never let me down. I can tell you with certainty He has done the same for you.
It’s my prayer that we will spend the weeks leading up to Christmas growing in our knowledge of our Savior. Let’s quiet our hearts and nurture the relationship with our Creator. Each day, let us spend time in prayer and thanksgiving, asking God for wisdom to understand Him more fully. The more we know Him, the more we can point others to Him and shine for His Glory. Let us show the world our hope is in Jesus. Merry Christmas, dear friends!
For your time of worship – Hope Has A Name