Christmas is about hope.
The word “hope” in the Bible bears no relation to the way the world commonly uses it. It doesn’t mean “I hope so,” but rather “I’m confident that…” It’s connected to the character of God who is always reliable and who never loses his focus. If we’re speaking of what God promises us, then we are on the most solid ground on earth. There is no real hope in this life or the next outside God and his purposes. Everything else is just wishful thinking. That’s the first thing we need to know about hope.
Secondly, this God is capable of filling us with peace and joy. The Old Testament calls it “Shalom,” a complete sense of well-being of both the spiritual and the physical, something found only in God’s will. We find that we are generally healthier when filled with peace and joy, a unique state of mind found only among those who love and serve the true God. And we discover that we get sick in the absence of peace and joy. This gives us some indication of our design, how we’re wired. We’re meant for such a life and not for any other.
Thirdly, this peace and joy come only as we trust in God. He imparts it to us as we lean on him and find him totally sufficient for our needs (and many of our wants). This is what it means to have faith in God, to trust in him. God calls us to trust him more. That is the only way we’ll discover the road to being content in all things. And this trust is not some blind, irrational confidence in that which is unreal, unproven, or incapable of demonstration. Rather, true faith is an informed trust, based on fact and confirmed by experience.
Fourthly, the result of this faith is that we may overflow with hope. Have you ever overflowed with hope? We all know what it’s like to overflow with despair, disillusionment, or discouragement, but how many know what it’s like to be bursting with hope, peace, and joy? It’s not even a possibility outside the gift of God’s presence with us.
And that’s the final, important point: all this occurs by the power of the Holy Spirit. The message of Jesus to us is not, “Please try harder, get better, and I’ll do great things for you,” but rather, “Lean wholly on me and my Father in your weakness and we’ll make the impossible happen for you.”
The power of the Holy Spirit is an ex nihilo power. That means God makes it happen out of nothing. He doesn’t need what’s already there to provide a way out of our trouble, but he creates a way where there wasn’t one before. He loves to do the impossible when we see no way out. It’s the greatest power in the universe. By it Jesus turned water into wine, calmed the storm, and raised the dead.
So if you think your situation is utterly impossible and beyond solution, then just remember what Jesus said to all who follow him:
“So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.”
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