I hope you have a Merry Christmas.
“Hope” gets thrown around a lot in our culture. I hope the economy turns around. I hope to get the promotion. I hope my church grows. I hope my kids turn out all right. I hope my money outlives my life.
This hope is not certain.
I had a precious, yet concerned, saint come up to me after worship last week. “Pastor, we talk about hope at church. But sometimes I feel like hope is not certain.” She looked at me intently and said, “I hope Christian hope is different.”
Christian hope is so different. It is unshakeable. It is certain. I Christian hope also communicates yearning for something in the future not yet realized in the present. Hope has a future function.
I know presently sin and selfishness within and without is hard. I hope for the future Day when sin, death, and the devil are put to death. I am certain of that Day.
I know presently ministry is hard. Disappointment based on unmet expectations is all around. I hope for the future Day when the disappointments are forever gone. I am certain of that Day.
Jesus knows the hardships of this present life. That is why He came. He is Immanuel–God with us. The babe in a manger came to die and rise again to give you hope. This future hope will not disappoint. The Resurrection proves it. I am certain of that Day.
May your Christmas celebration be filled with the very real presence of Jesus. May His joy lead you to rejoice in all the good gifts and good people He has placed around you. May His peace lead you to reject anxiety about the future. Jesus holds you, and all things, in His kind and loving hands.
Finally, may Jesus’ certain hope of His imminent return to make all things new lead you to fearlessly dream new dreams to share His love in the coming year!
From all of us at the ULC, we hope you have a Merry Christmas!