Hope is “a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain things to happen.”
This time last year, we all had such hope for 2020 only to have those expectations and desires dashed by the global pandemic. 2020 also confronted us with many challenges that have rightfully caused us to rethink our daily assumptions, preconceived biases, and all that which we took for granted. As we close out this difficult year, is there room in our hearts to hope?
In the most difficult times for God’s people—generations taken into exile, hundreds of years of oppression, suffering injustice from both their leaders and their oppressors—God promised His people an enduring hope. In our most difficult times, He promises us the same.
The Christmas story is about Jesus, Emmanuel—God with us. The Living God is with His people. He willingly put on human flesh to come alongside us in our human journey, His own human experience lived in poverty and rejection. His short life ending with betrayal, abandonment and injustice. But that was just the beginning. His resurrection gives us a taste of that glory which awaits.
If our hope ended with our earthly lives, too many would be hopeless.
Advent reminds us that God is a God of Promises Kept. To Israel, He promised a Saviour (Isaiah 9), and to this world, He sent His Son to give us hope, not only for this life, but for life eternal. The Bible declares, “In His name the nations will put their hope” (Matthew 12:21) and promises peace to those on whom His favour rests (Luke 2:14). The Christmas story is an eternal one and there is something supernatural about this season, for we celebrate that moment when the eternal touched this earth to begin bridging the chasm between humankind and God, not just momentarily but for eternity through Christ Jesus.
And because of this hope, the Apostle Paul is able to write, “17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4)
Despite the challenges of this year, there is a deeper hope. There is a stronger hope. There is a more fulfilling hope. Knowing this Christmas story gives us the strength to hope in the face of challenge and adversity. Knowing the Hope of Nations strengthens our resilience as we wait in expectation for His promises to come to perfect fulfilment.
So this Christmas, don’t be afraid to hope. There is always hope. The promise of the Living God assures it. May He increase our faith to be assured of things hoped for and convinced of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1)