Our Hope in Christ during the Holidays
Christmas is one of the most exciting times of the year. Family reunions, celebrations, gifts, lights, singing Christmas carols, watching TV classics, and festivities are all around! It’s a time we remember the birth of Christ and rejoice in the fact that God made a way for sinners to be reconciled to Himself through the coming of Christ. We celebrate the fact that salvation is by grace in Christ alone! During this season we are reminded that it’s better to give than to receive. We realize we don’t deserve anything in this life, but God in His goodness has given us so many good gifts. It’s tempting to think we may need so many different things in this life, but God has addressed our greatest need of forgiveness of our sins through Christ Jesus. Christmas is actually not about us at all. Christmas reminds us how fallen this world is, and how much we need Christ. Christmas makes us joyfully anticipate His return to make all things right again!
Along with celebration, the holidays can also be a really hard season for many. This particular season has been very difficult for me along with others I know. There are those who are experiencing their first Christmas without a loved one. Some are entering the season with loss or the disappointment of an ended relationship. This may be a season of constant worry and anxiety about the unknowns of the future. This may be a season of just much pain and hurt. Or this could be a season where you are watching a close friend or family member go through these trials. We are called to carry the burdens of our friends, so you may be the only support someone has in their life right now. Personally speaking, I have friends who tragically lost a loved one, some who are experiencing lost relationships, anxiety, depression, divorce and a broken heart, difficult marriages, and illnesses. I’ll be honest, Christ calls us for difficult work. Is this a difficult season for you personally right now? Are you carrying a difficult load personally this Christmas or sharing the load of a friend? I hope you find strength and encouragement to continue your perseverance and recognize your need for Christ. Yes, “Come Lord Jesus.”
One hymn that’s been on my heart this Christmas season is “Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus”. It’s a beautiful hymn for Advent that expresses the purposes of the Advent season. We remember the birth of Christ and also powerfully desire His coming again. We know this world is fallen and dark, but Christ is our hope. “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:5). We can rejoice in that despite our circumstances. His promises are true despite what we may be feeling or how circumstances appear. Christ is the One who was born to set us free from our fears and sin. Let us truly find our rest in thee.
Come, thou long expected Jesus,
born to set thy people free;
from our fears and sins release us,
let us find our rest in thee.
Israel’s strength and consolation,
hope of all the earth thou art;
dear desire of every nation,
joy of every longing heart.
Born thy people to deliver,
born a child and yet a King,
born to reign in us forever,
now thy gracious kingdom bring.
By thine own eternal spirit
rule in all our hearts alone;
by thine all sufficient merit,
raise us to thy glorious throne.
Tim Keller in his new book, Hidden Christmas: The Surprising Truth Behind the the Birth of Christ, writes, “Christmas means not just hope for the world, despite all its unending problems, but hope for you and me, despite all our unending failings.” Let that really sink in…How amazing! Praise Him for His grace!!!
May this Christmas season we rejoice knowing there is hope in Christ. Let’s love on those who are hurting, showing them the light of Christ through our words and deeds. O come let us adore Him!