Hope In this Season || Encouragement & Inspiration

Hope. It’s one of those Christmas catch phrases like “joy” and “peace” that you can’t really avoid if you wanted to. It is on ornaments and wall hangings. We hear it in carols and hymns. If you Google “Christmas + hope” you get more than 15 MILLION hits. It’s everywhere. But if hope is so prevalent why can’t we seem to find it?

By definition hope is not just waiting for something, it’s also the expectation that it will happen. Jesus is the perfect example of hope. For centuries people waited for him, the Messiah, to come into the world. And he did! And now we rest in that truth while waiting for him to come again. We can have peace and confidence in our expectations because he has already proven to be faithful before.

For many Christians, though, even this knowledge doesn’t bring about the hope-filled heart we struggle so hard to find. We shop and decorate, bedazzle and fret attempting to create hope and happiness around us.  Friends, hope doesn’t find its way into our hearts from the outside. Instead, hope is the opposite. The hope in us permeates into all that is around us. Hope is best when it is shared. Think about it. When you were a kid and you REALLY hoped for something, what did you do? You told someone! You wrote it in your diary. You whispered it to your best friend. You gave your wish list to your parents and maybe told your grandparents too, just to be sure. 

You couldn’t keep hope bottled up! And the more you share the more hope-filled you became! When you applied for that great job or met the man you hoped to marry you didn’t keep it to yourself. You told those who were close and then celebrated together when that hope was fulfilled! The bible is full of examples of hope-filled people sharing with the world. Mary, after she was visited by the angel, went immediately to Elizabeth’s house to share the news that the Savior was coming and she would be his mother. When Jesus was born the angels shared the news with the shepherds who then went to see for themselves. When he was a few days old Jesus was presented in the temple. Simeon was there and met the baby. The Holy Spirit had told him he would not die before seeing the Messiah and so he went to the temple every day. Talk about hope! Anna was also there. She never left the temple, but fasted and prayed day and night. Luke tells us that when she saw Jesus she began to give thanks to God and to speak of him to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem. Can you imagine the excitement on her 84-year-old face as she told of hope fulfilled?! 

After Jesus started his ministry people continued to share. The woman at the well is such a great example of what hope in community looks like. She was an outcast from her village. Everything about her story tells us she was on the fringe, from drawing water alone at mid-day to having five husbands. She was alone. Until Jesus. He shared with her living water. He gave her hope and she immediately reconnected with her community by sharing Jesus. 

I think the reason so many believers struggle to find hope at Christmas is because we have let go of community. We’ve lost our circle of people to whisper to about life. We’re not inviting new people to sit at our table or in our pews. We have lived on the surface for so long we don’t quite remember how to share what’s really in our hearts. 

Elsa got it wrong! The goal shouldn’t be to conceal, don’t feel. The goal should be to love and embrace. True community is hard and messy and beautiful and sweet. It is where hope builds and flourishes. It’s where the old stories are retold and the laughter and joy swell. It’s where tears are wiped away and just sitting together is comfort. It’s recognizing that a stranger at the coffee shop is actually a fellow believer and rejoicing together about what God is doing. It’s seeing someone hurting and offering them Jesus! You know what’s more exciting that one kiddo waiting for Christmas morning? A whole bunch of them! The hope and joy practically bursts through the rafters. They are excited for themselves, of course, but they’re excited for other people to know too! They don’t have to know one another beforehand – they have hope in common! 

When was the last time we were really excited for others to know the true Hope of Christmas? When was the last time you told the Christmas story? When was the last time you said, I have a friend named Jesus and he wants you to know him too? If it’s been awhile, it’s time to share! Proverbs 13:12 says “Hope deferred makes the heart-sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life”. Jesus IS the life. Share. Don’t let hope be deferred any longer.  

Back to topShare this on FacebookTweet this post69,109,97,105,108,32,77,101eM liamEPin It!follow me on Instagram