This week’s Christmas word is hope. Sadly, hope is something that often gets crushed in our world. You have hope that you are finally going to make the team, you are finally going to get that job or promotion, your crush is finally going to respond to your charming winks and amazing pick up lines, or the Sixers are finally going to make it out of the second round of the playoffs. But then…it doesn’t happen. We have probably each had a hope crushed at some point in our lives. It seems that one of the most frequent ways you will hear the word hope used in our culture is in the phrase “don’t get your hopes up.” Many people become weathered by life and numb to hope. We as Christians can even be tempted to put away the excitement and wonder of our hope in the gospel in an attempt to protect ourselves from being hurt or disappointed.
Consider Revelation 21:3-5: “He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. And he who was seated on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things new.'” When you read and think about a promise like this one, you may start to feel something. There is an excitement, an anticipation, a thrill, a wonder…that is hope!
Hope in this world is often a shaky thing. For example, I often have hopes for the characters in the movies and TV shows that I watch. I tend to get so sucked into what I am watching that I often have no awareness of what my body is doing. I will sit there with my eyes glued to the screen and my mouth hanging wide open in anticipation of what is going to happen to a character. Meanwhile, Steph gets more amusement out of watching me than watching the screen. Hope, in a worldly sense, is often just wishful thinking that can leave you full of anxiety until the end is made sure. Steph often whispers over to me, “You know there is a sequel to this movie, so the main character must survive!” Unlike worldly hopes, our hope to know God and live with Him forever in His Kingdom is certain because it is based on Christ’s faithfulness and not our own. Christ fulfills our side of the covenant so that all the promises of God find their yes in him! (2 Corinthians 1:20).
Do not rob yourself of the joy that comes from having hope. Hebrews 6:19 calls this hope “a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul.” You see, hope in God is not something that can be crushed. In fact, hope in God protects you from being crushed by anything that can possibly be thrown at you in life. This Christmas, let yourself get excited about what the birth of Christ means for us. Let your knowledge of Christ allow you to be filled with wonder in your soul. This Christmas, let yourself get caught up in hope.