Hope. The word holds so much future promise, don’t you think? As defined by the Oxford dictionary, hope is a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen. We can all relate to a sense of hopeful anticipation—a longing for a particular event to arrive.
We may hope our kids thrive at school, hope that our health remains strong, hope we get that new position in the company, or hope that stunning dress goes on sale in time for the Christmas bash. Hope makes a frequent appearance at this time of year. It’s embossed on beautifully scripted Christmas cards, scrawled across various decorations, and sung about in Christmas carols. The season itself offers generous helpings of hope.
Even so, some may feel a distinct lack of hope. Perhaps this year was a difficult one and hope is waning. Proverbs 13:12 says, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.” For some, heartsickness has replaced hope. They’ve desired change—hung on long and hard—but could really use a fresh infusion of hope. They could really use to have their longing fulfilled.
At Christmas, we celebrate that over 2,000 years ago, Jesus entered into our hopelessness. His birth birthed hope. His arrival was the answer to our desperate need, and his death secured our future hope. In receiving Jesus, we find that all else pales to the hope we have in him. He heals our heartsickness and fills our empty longing.
All earthly desires delivered, or an entire wish list fulfilled, will never be as fulfilling as a relationship with Jesus. The gift of his love and life is offered to all. All year long, and especially all throughout this holiday season, the deep longing we each possess can only be filled by the One who came to fill it. That longing fulfilled will be like a tree of life in our very lives, branching out to all areas.
Just as a child whose nose is pressed up against a toy store window full of hopeful expectation, so our hearts can be pressed into Jesus with child-like, hope-filled expectation of his presence this Christmas. Jesus—our Saviour come—fulfills hope for today, hope for the season, and hope for eternity.
“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