There is a lot to be discouraged about. If 2020 has proved anything it's that the world is a very negative place. Christmas hope seems far away when the world seems ready to turn into chaos at any moment. I have found myself fighting extremes this year. One moment I am filled with unparalleled hope and the next my heart plummets into despair.
I'm not alone either. This Christmas there are many other people out there filled with hopelessness, and it doesn't just have to be about 2020 either. There are many hurts this year. Yet for all the great hurts, there is also great hope. Unexpected hope. Unprecedented hope. When we turn our eyes to something greater than ourselves we find that the Christmas hope we seek is much closer than we could possibly imagine.
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A Worldly Refuge
Last year around this time I was sitting in the living room of my old house in tears. I did not want to leave the home that I had put so much time and effort into. It had become a beautiful paradise to me. My refuge away from all the worries of the world. Five years of creating and manipulating the property to make it exactly what I wanted, and now we were leaving. From the blue painted cabinets to the hollow core door remodel, I had poured my heart into that home.
Fast forward to now, I'm sitting in a lovely kitchen with a cozy office nook. Yet despite the fact that this house is an obvious upgrade, it's not at all how I want my home. In fact, occasionally I feel like I want to run the few miles back to my old cozy home and strap myself to one of the downstairs pillars and tell everyone that I'm not leaving and they will just have to deal with it!
There is something about that little home that was a refuge. It's been difficult to find a place of refuge this year in the typical places we find refuge or hope.
Maybe you feel the same this year. It may not be that your physical refuge has changed, but maybe you still are feeling that need for a refuge and hope that you cannot find.
A Heavenly Refuge
Obviously my emotional thoughts are not that productive or reasonable! Yet as I've opened my bible and devotionals, I've been comforted that our homes are not forever homes. They are just small shells of worldly goods. They are wonderful places for raising families and making memories. Our homes can even be reflections of our heavenly home, but they are most certainly not forever.
For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.2 Corinthians 5:1 ESV
Have you ever felt like there was a cozy spot in the world that was just for you? A place that was so beautiful and peaceful that it is your refuge in times of turmoil? Think of that spot right now. Then take a moment to contemplate that the worldly refuge and hope is nothing in comparison to the beauty that is being created in heaven. It is nothing in comparison to the Christmas hope that we find in Jesus Christ.
An Eternal Christmas Hope
Christmas time is a season of beauty and hope for many people. We celebrate this season with beauty; decorations, food, family, friends, and traditions. We also celebrate this season with hope. Little children hope for their favorite present. Adults hope for some magical rest. Or maybe some quality time with family and friends.
For some the season is anything but beautiful and filled with hope. The glowing lights, decorations, food, family, and friends only increase the pain of the season.
We can look at this time of Christmas hope from both perspectives and see past it into the eternity that God is preparing for us. If you love this time of year and all the beauty that it processes, just think of the glorious beauty that awaits in eternity. Remember that these earthly homes, no matter if they are a sanctuary for you or not, are simply a shallow box in comparison to the multi layered, glorious paradise awaiting in heaven.
Perhaps this season brings nothing but pain. Look at this short season and remember that our pain on this earth is only temporary. Maybe the reminder that eternity is ahead does nothing to ease your aching heart. Your pain might be so deep that no words on a page can comfort you. Be encouraged because Jesus is not words on a page. He is our living and ultimate healer. Reach for him. You pain may not go away, but I guarantee that Jesus loves you more than your pain.
Seasonal beauty and Christmas hope is all around, and most of the time it's not the twinkling lights, or the glowing lanterns. Most of the time its the work of eternity that Jesus is doing in our hearts.
10 Reasons for Christmas Hope
Our main reason to hope this Christmas is because Jesus came to earth and he not only died for us, he also lived and lives for us! Isn't that good news? Our hope does not rest in the latest trending news. Our hope does not rest in our ability to push and weed our way through 2020 or 2021; our hope rests in the never ending promises of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.
He came to live on this earth, he live a perfect life, he died in yours and my place on the cross, and he resurrected to live again as our Lord and Savior. That is our Christmas hope! But if that was not enough, we have many other reasons to hope.
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#1Jesus is our Ultimate Hope
There is no great hope than the hope of Jesus. We hear that a lot in the Christian community, but really let the implications sink in for a second. If you hope is in Jesus you entire being should be at rest. Is Jesus you hope this Christmas? Rest in your ultimate hope.
Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;Psalm 16:9 NIV
my body also will rest in hope,
#2We are Filled with Hope
If you are a child of the ultimate authority on this earth, you can rest in the power of the Holy Spirit, who goes to work on our behalf through the power of the Holy Spirit, to bring us joy and peace.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.Romans 15:13 NIV
#3 The Word of God is Alive
When is the last time you cracked open your Bible and drank deep the breath of scripture? We can have hope this Christmas because we have the Word of God at our fingertips. The Word of God is alive for you and me to study. Don't neglect that powerful and beautiful book.
Christmas time is a optimum time to find a fresh devotional that will turn your heart toward Jesus. Consider these options if you are looking for a good Christmas devotional.
My son, pay attention to what I say;Proverbs 4:20 NIV
turn your ear to my words.
#4 There is no Reason to Fear
I'm sure we could all come up with reasons to fear.
My list could go on couldn't it? You could add your own bits of fear to this list. But 2 Timothy 1:7 boldly declares that we do not have a reason to be timid this Christmas. We have reason for power, love, and self-discipline.
Take those words to heart and apply them to your unique situation. Maybe instead of resting in the fear of financial crisis you change your inner script.
Instead of letting your mind say, "I don't know how we are going to get through this season financially." Change that inner script to. "I don't know how we are going to get through this season, but I have no reason to fear because God has not made me timid! By his sustaining power, we will get through."
For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.2 Timothy 1:7 NIV
#5 There is Still Great Joy!
What really strikes me about this verse is that first little section. Do you see it? It says be joyful in hope. Yet we know from other verses in the Bible that our hope rests not in ourselves, but in our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, 5 who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.1 Peter 1:3-6 NIV
When I read a verse like Romans 12:12, I can't help but think that our hope cannot waver. It can't waver because Christ does not change. We are joyful in our hope, we are patient in our affliction, and we are faithful in prayer. All of this is due to the living hope of Jesus.
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.Romans 12:12 NIV
#6 We can have an Abundant Life
Stop accepting sin. Be gone with worldly things that trap you in sin and regret. Jesus came to earth to live and die for your sins. Repent and turn away from your sin. Jesus came so you can have an abundant life, a full life, a hope filled life. Your cup can overflow with His blessings.
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.John 10:10 NIV
#7 There is Still Kindness
Sometimes it seems like there is no kindness left in this world. Last year I was feeling this quite frequently, and then I was listening to the podcast "Live Well Anyways" (formally "Cultivating the Lovely") by Mackenzie Koppa, and she interviewed the authors of this devotional.
I spent the next year reading through that devotional and contemplating kindness in this world. What I realized is that kindness has to start with us. It has to start with believers in Jesus Christ following His example and infiltrating the world with this kindness. It starts with us.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.1 Corinthians 13:4-6 NIV
#8 There is Still Love
Just like it can be hard to see kindness in this world, it can also be hard to see love. This shouldn't surprise us because as the end draws closer, we will see the wickedness of this world come at us in full force.
God loved this world so much that he gave us the greatest Christmas hope: Jesus. Those that believe in Him will receive a love that will never end.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.John 3:16 NIV
#9 We can Explain our Christmas Hope
Do you have Christmas hope? Is that hope resting primiarly in the never ending hope of Jesus? Then you have reason to shout it from the rooftops! Your have reason to give an answer to anyone who asks you why you have hope this Christmas.
But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.1 Peter 3:15 NIV
#10 Your Deepest Thirst is Already Satisfied
A deep human longing is to be fulfilled. So we look for it in places. In jobs, families, friends, stuff, and tasks. Yet those things will never truly satisfy our hearts. They may bring a twisted form of contentment, but they will no make our heart whole. The only thing on this world that will do that is mystery of Christ. He will satisfy you this Christmas.
To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.Colossians 1:27 NIV
Your Refuge for Christmas Hope
Remember that refuge I was talking about? My physical home has changed and I my emotions have ran high this year as I have tied my refuge to a physical place. It has taken me a long time, but I finally realized that my refuge should not be rooted in my physical home. My refuge is in the person of Jesus Christ.
What has your refuge been this year. 2020 has been crazy, we can all agree on that. So what has your refuge been. A place, food, alcohol, TV? None of those will satisfy like the placing your hope is Jesus. He is your refuge.