Christmas is not the same for every kid. Or for adults.
Some kids don’t have much to look forward to at Christmas, and it’s heart-breaking to see a child who has no hope for what should be a joyful morning. Meanwhile, other kids hope to get lots of presents, but their happiness with the toys they receive often fades quickly.
Christmas should be a time of hope. But, for many kids—and adults—it is the opposite: they feel hope-less. For other people, they feel cheerful during the holidays, but their hope soon evaporates. Because it is false hope, a fragile expectation built on a faulty foundation.
This Christmas, my wish is that you find reason to hope. And that your faith transforms that hope into an assurance that stays with you throughout the coming year, and beyond.
Because it is based on truth.
When We Lose Our Hope
For years, I volunteered at an inner city ministry. Each Christmas, we invited nearby families to a holiday event with decorations, table hosts, a sumptuous dinner, and wonderful entertainment.
And, for the kids, toys!
The smiles, laughter, and squeals of delight from that annual gift-giving will stay with me always. But, so will the memory of the thousands of kids we could not help. Whose tearful Moms had to tell—their hearts aching—that there wasn’t enough money for presents that year.
But, it’s not just disadvantaged kids who may have lost hope. There are many grownup who feel that way as well, including at Christmas. Even with things to celebrate, loneliness, more time for introspection, or comparisons to what could be can become disheartening.
In fact, the holidays are one of the saddest and loneliest times of year for many people. Such as those struggling with grief, depression, or addiction. And those who feel anxious or ashamed.
For anyone who feels that way, finding reason to hope can be a challenge.
When We Build False Hopes
Most kids are more advantaged than those described above. They hope to get lots of presents for Christmas, and they do. They feel those new toys will make them happy and, for a while, it works.
But, soon, the toys lose their newness, school starts, and life returns to normal. And their hope becomes focused on circumstances: the next holiday, or event, or weekend to look forward to.
Many adults do the same thing.
We put our faith in substitute gods—idols—creating false hopes that do not ultimately bring us happiness. We blindly choose to worship the idol of materialism, or control, or pride, in each case focusing on our self rather than on God.
Or, our hope is based on circumstances: we yearn to get that next raise, for our 401k to go up, or our kids to get good grades. So we can feel comfortable, or in control, or fulfilled as good parents. And these false hopes rise and fall with the ups and downs of our lives.
False hopes based on idols or circumstances are fragile. Like kids whose fascination with their Christmas toys fades, we eventually realize we need something more solid to place our hope in.
Finding Reason to Hope
The article “The Birth of Hope” shows how hope is a feeling something good will happen, while faith is belief—trust—that it will. And faith leads to assurance, being certain about the future.
But, how do we find assurance? By searching for, and finding, the truth.
Which is why Christmas brings hope! Because the birth we celebrate at Christmas did happen, and Jesus is the truth. Jesus Christ is the reason to hope and the source of our assurance:
- To find assurance in Jesus’ birth and life, read “A Search for Truth – Part 3.”
- To find assurance in Jesus’ death and resurrection, read “A Search for Truth – Part 4.”
And, at Christmas, we should remember that Jesus came not only to save us, but also to restore all things and make them new. Including us. We have hope for eternity, but also for now. All year, we have the assurance of being loved and the certainty of a God of grace who is in charge of all things.
This Christmas, I wish for you to find reason to hope, and a faith that brings assurance for the future. An assurance based on the truth.
Question: Do you feel hopeless, or could you be relying on false hopes?
Action: Use the links included above to read the 3 supporting blog articles referenced. For other Christmas stories that will give you even more reason to hope, you can also check out: