Believe: Christmas Devotions

Day 12: The Gift of Hope

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.  2 Corinthians 4:18

At Christmas, we give gifts but we also receive them.  Some of us make lists of things that we would like to have the most and then we hope to get them.  It can be disappointing to not receive a gift that you’ve asked and hoped for.  Think back to a time in your childhood when you had high hopes and were expecting Santa to deliver a special gift to you.  You specifically asked for this gift and were certain you would receive it because you had been so good and waited so patiently all year.  Then Christmas morning comes and that special gift is not one you open and it is nowhere in sight.  Despite the other gifts you received, you may still feel sad and disappointed which is far from the feeling of joy you would expect on Christmas.  Adults, like children, are susceptible to this kind of sadness and disappointment when we have expectations from others and they do not deliver what we hoped for.  Disappointment and hopelessness is not a new syndrome or phenomena caused by COVID isolation and is not reserved only for holidays.  These feelings can occur on any day and be traced back to the beginning of time.  

If you have ever felt disappointment, you are not alone.  The disciples who followed Jesus felt tremendous sorrow and disappointment as they watched their beloved, innocent Jesus hang on a criminal’s cross.  The disciples had high hopes for the kingdom of God and people were expecting Jesus to rise as an earthly King and now they were witnessing his death.  The death of Jesus on the cross did not fulfill the hopes and meet the expectations of his followers and they were mourning.  The disciples placed their focus on what they could see and all they could see at that time was death and loss.  They had forgotten what Jesus taught them about those who have not seen and yet have believed.  Jesus said that those people would be happy and have joy because their hope was not focused on their temporary circumstances.  God understands how hard it is to keep your faith strong and believe in difficult times so out of his great love and mercy for us he gave us something to see that would restore our hope and belief in him forever.  God gave the disciples the sight of an empty tomb and the resurrected body of Jesus Christ.  It was only seeing Jesus that restored the disciples hope and reassured them of God’s faithfulness.  This Christmas you may not get every gift you’ve asked and hoped for and that is ok and is nothing to be disappointed about because those gifts are only temporary.  The greatest gift comes from Jesus and that gift is One that lasts forever.  Find hope and joy only in Jesus this Christmas! 

Luke 24:1-45, John 20:29

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