I love the feeling of the Christmas season.

In the midst of the darkening days and the breath-catching cold outside- we can’t help but feel that the season is a bit…hopeful.

Hope for better days ahead, for time with family and friends, for not just surviving but actually THRIVING in the winter season.

This hope does not come in the midst of being carefree and easy, but rather it is the kind of hope that meets us right in the middle of our dark circumstances or our difficult surroundings.

Hope can be found this Christmas because hope has a name: his name is Jesus.

This hope-in-the-middle was the same for the promise of Jesus’ coming thousands of years ago before he arrived. The Israelite people were struggling and heading into exile at the hand of the Assyrians. Oppression, humiliation, grief, and despair.

The Isaiah prophesies HOPE into the midst of this circumstance when he wrote: “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.” (Isaiah 9:2)

This light he is talking about- this glimmer of flickering hope in the darkness- is Jesus Christ! And this is still the hope of the world today. In this poetic description of the doom and gloom of real life difficulties, light signifies prosperity, peace, and joy breaking through if we only would have eyes to see it.

Jesus brings eternal hope, not just temporary happiness. That’s what we really deeply long for anyways, isn’t it? Hope that lasts beyond the death of a loved one, or the desire for a child when we can’t have one, or the despair of a broken relationship. Jesus brings us hope for this life and the life to come- eternal life- by making a way for us through his own life, death, and resurrection.

He has brought us hope because we are not alone- God is with us! And this shows us how to live, how to die, and how to live forever.

Invite Jesus today into the areas of your life that you feel hopeless, and may you see the lights not just on the Christmas tree, but the eternal light of Jesus light your way now and forever. Amen!