Sunday, December 17, 2023

Finding Hope at Christmas


All pictures courtesy of Unsplash
At this time year we talk a lot about hope, but for many of us, hope lacks a sense of certainty. It is more like a wish—something that we want to happen but have no way of knowing that it ultimately will. So we keep our fingers crossed and 'hope' that everything will go the way we want it to.
The reality is that often life does not turn out the way we hoped it would. Hope is a fragile commodity. When life is disappointing, our optimism is replaced by feelings of discouragement and hopelessness. Before long we run the risk of becoming cynics who believe that there is nothing in which we can confidently hope.
This was the landscape of life when Jesus entered the world. The prevailing mood of Israel was anything but hope. The once proud nation was now a puppet state of the pagan Roman Empire. The common person lived under the defeating burden of the exaggerated requirements of the religious establishment. Centuries before, they had been promised a deliverer who would restore Israel to its former glory, but it had never happened.
Into this sense of cynical hopelessness, true Hope was born. As the Christmas season gathers momentum, the promise of hope against the odds is a strong theme which many people share. Christians believe that the promise of hope against the odds is what Christmas is all about. The truth is that it cannot be realised or achieved without first dealing with the darkness and enmity present not only in the world but also in our individual lives. A starting point is acknowledging its immensity?
I love the honesty of the psalmist who said, “Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me?” We have all been there, but let us not stop there. Keep reading! 'Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Saviour and my God'.
Rejoice that Jesus came to give us something better than the disappointments of life on planet earth, and when by faith we embrace Him and all that He promised, we can have a hope that is no longer a fingers-crossed wish that we harbour in our hearts, but rather a confident, courageous optimism that is rooted in the certainty of His Word.
The tragedy of the first Christmas was that very few realised the Hope that had been introduced.

Hope for the forgiveness of sins.
Hope for a bright future—forever.
Hope for God’s presence and power in daily living.
Hope that would enable us to forget the past and set our sights on stuff that does not disappoint.
A Hope that, because of Jesus, is a certainty and not just another wish to be dashed on the rocks of reality.

Pin your hopes on Jesus this Christmas—you will not be disappointed!

Messages with Meaning (17/12/20) Written by Peter Francis for Your542Day

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