Hope in spite of the holiday season

Hope in spite of the holiday season

I don’t know about all of you, but I get tired of the “holiday season” stuff. Maybe that makes me a bad person, but there are so many traditions that either had no meaning to begin with or that have lost their meaning over time. And one of those is the constant repetition of every single verse out of Luke 2.

Please don’t get me wrong. I love Luke 2. I love the Christmas story. But as I’ve said in previous posts, I believe the Christmas story needs to be celebrated year round and not just during the last two weeks of December. And that’s all that Biblegateway seems to be putting up right now.

And it’s not that the Christmas story isn’t wonderful. It is. It’s the beginning of the greatest story ever told. But it’s not the only story. It’s part of an epic, and you can’t just talk about one part of an epic.

What about everything else people go through during the holidays? I know the angels appeared to the shepherds and sang to them. I know Mary wrapped Jesus in cloths and laid Him in a manger. I know all that.

But you know what else? I’m stressed out. My job is crazy. My responsibilties are piling up. My life is nuts. And I love that angels sang and Mary wrapped Jesus up and wise men came from far away, but what practical message do those verses have for me in the middle of these last two weeks of my stressful life? I want to see other verses that encourage me in my daily walk, not just the same verses you only talk about every year.

I’m sorry if people disagree. This is just the way I feel about it. Today’s verse of the day is out of Luke 2. Surprise. So I decided to find my own verse this morning, and I ended up in Romans 8. This is kind of long, but it’s the best thing I’ve read in a while:

18 Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later. 19 For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are. 20 Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope, 21 the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay. 22 For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us. 24 We were given this hope when we were saved. (If we already have something, we don’t need to hope for it. 25But if we look forward to something we don’t yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently.)

 26 And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. 27 And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believersin harmony with God’s own will. 28 And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.

Did you catch verse 24? Go back and read it again. Better yet, I’ll just repeat it.

24 We were given this hope when we were saved. (If we already have something, we don’t need to hope for it. 25But if we look forward to something we don’t yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently.)

When we were saved we were given the hope that God is going to come back for us, that God is going to complete the work He started in us. The paranthetical expression is what stood out to me today.

It’s so true. That’s what Hope is. It’s looking forward to something we don’t have yet, waiting.

Waiting, waiting, waiting, waiting. All my life is waiting, but that’s what we’re supposed to do. That is hope. Waiting patiently and confidently.

Wow. How many of us need to hear that during this stressed out, emotional holiday season? How many people have forgotten what Hope really is? Yes, Christ is Hope. He came to give us Hope, but Hope isn’t exactly the positive thing that we always hear about during Christmas.

Hope is waiting for something we don’t have yet.

So on this frigid (in Kansas, at least) Christmas Eve Eve, don’t forget how to hope. And don’t be discouraged if you don’t have the things you think you ought to have. Because Hope means that you still have a ways to go.

And I don’t know if that’s encouraging or not. But it’s what I needed to hear this morning.

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