Christmas is near – I know that because my wife’s birthday in December 7 and she is wonderful about reminding me! But I know Christmas is coming because my email inbox is stuffed full of ‘Special Offers’ for special customers (it’s nice to be special!).
As I drive around our area making hospital visits and attending various parties and functions during the season I know Christmas is near because of the lights on people’s homes. The shopping centers are lit brightly, inviting me to stop in and browse merchandise that will certainly bring happiness to those in my family and give me joy as I give.
But as I see the lights, as I see the shopping centers I also see people. As I find parking spots in the places I visit I see people drifting in and out of the stores, the places of business. As I see their faces I see a hopelessness. I overhear bits and pieces of conversation and wonder – what happened to hope? Oh, I hear it – ‘I hope he/she can use this,’ or ‘I hope this fits.’ But the hopelessness I sense is deeper than that.
Can a gift, can an invitation to a party or an open house heal the deep wounds of brokenness that have been created by the selfishness of 11 months and 24 days? Can one day – Christmas – or one season – “the hap-hap-happiest time of year” heal the hurt of loss? Behind the smiles, behind the masks people wear is a deep sense of hopelessness.
And yet the answer for hopelessness is the One whose birth is the very reason for the celebration. Jesus, conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of Mary who had been wed to Joseph, is the bearer of hope. In Him we see unveiled the ability of God to fulfill His promises – in spite of generations of failure by His people. In Jesus we see before us the possibility that God will reverse the curse of sin and death. In the birth of Jesus we hear good news for all people – all can enter into a relationship with God through the gift of life in Jesus Christ.
May your Christmas season be one of hope! Hope in knowing that God will finish what He has begun, hope in knowing that nothing can break a relationship with God through Jesus Christ, hope in knowing that no sin is too great, no failure is too large for the love of God given us in and through Jesus Christ!