Ever so slowly the slightest hint of hopelessness rises, you wonder where it comes from as it tempts to break the surface of this peaceful Christmas season. Amid “all is calm – all is bright” thin slivers of loss threaten to destroy this Christmas cheer.
Making Sense of the “Not-Yets”
Lately I have found my soul arguing with itself. There are many impossible situations in my life that I just can’t figure out. Every once-in-awhile, a sneak attack slips in right between “silent night-holy night” and the words “sleep in heavenly peace” and I find myself in turmoil wondering what I will do with what has not-yet-come. The future! Then I realize that I am stepping into a realm that is God’s. It is not up to me to figure out the not-yet’s.
“Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my help and my God.”
Psalm 42:5 (NRS)
Why is it that at time of year the weight of longing and loss somehow feels heavier? A loss of relationship, a recent injustice, a tragedy, a deep sorrow that never seems to thoroughly heal, a wayward son or daughter, a piece of your past that makes you blush with shame each time you catch a peripheral glimpse of it in the back of your mind. For one single instant you feel hopeless.
The Rule of Three’s
Recently I was introduced to the Rule of Threes. It goes something like this;
You can survive 3 weeks without food for your grumbling stomach, 3 days without water to quench your thirst, 3 hours without shelter from harsh environmental elements, and even 3 minutes without air/oxygen; but you cannot survive even 3 seconds without hope!
The Giver of Hope Has Come!
Yes, at this time of year hopelessness rises among many. It may be those who have lost a loved one due to an unforgettable accident or illness. Or a shattered relationship; that at this very moment you can’t even remember who took the first hurtful punch and with acidic words, caused an unrepairable riff. The memory of a loved one who will not be with you this Christmas season is heavy on many hearts and loneliness pervades many a home, as you sit alone – while others you care for are festively gathering together.
My mother use to tell me, “Linda, as long as there is life, there is hope!” As long as I am breathing I have the opportunity to embrace hope!
Christmas is all about hope because Christmas is all about the Giver of everlasting life and therefore the Giver of hope- Jesus!
Jesus who left the glories of His heavenly home, came down to live among us – fully God, yet fully man. He joined us in the middle of our brokenness, our messes and for some, what seems like hopelessness. Leaving behind heavens splendor to mingle with the shattered, sinful lives of mankind. He left the throne of glory to come into a world full of people who didn’t want Him. Jesus, who delights to works through the ordinary and preform the extraordinary.
If you are looking at yourself to be the one who fixes, then “yes” it is hopeless; but if it is Jesus to whom you are looking to, then all things are possible. (Luke 1:37; Matthew 19:26)
If life is calling out “No room,” for you at this Christmas season, remember that God has a plan to give you a hopeful future. One in which He is present. One in which He is the Giver of life. One in which He presents the gift of Himself, the gift of Eternal Hope.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11 (NLT)
Jesus Brings Hope!
The wonder of Jesus brings hope. Hope for the hurting ache that just won’t go away. Hope for the wayward child who has not yet come home. Hope for the splintered, shattered relationship that seems impossible to put back together, hope for the longing in your loneliness, hope for the darkness of depression or hope for the unresolved issues that are trailing you into this New Year.
Jesus reaches out to all humanity with the true gift of Eternal Hope this Christmas. Only Jesus can take the irritating, the broken, the injustices, or the recent tragedies in your life and allow hope to rise to the surface.
It is Jesus who willingly comes into the muddle of humanity and freely offers the gift of Himself. Will you open your heart today and receive this gift of eternal hope?
God had in mind the perfect gift – Jesus! The perfect offering for a world without hope. No matter your poverty of soul- Rejoice! Immanuel has come. And He is the Giver of hope!
Beyond your difficulty is Jesus. Looking to Jesus will always give hope as He draws our eyes from the problem to the problem solver.
“Christmas is love tugging men’s hearts back to God with the powerful grip of a tiny hand reaching out from a bed of straw.” Author Unknown
“The virgin will conceive a Child! She will give birth to a Son and will call Him Immanuel which means ‘God is with us’.” Isaiah 7:14 (NLT)
But remember, that tiny hand is no longer a babe in a manger. He is Jesus the Savior of the world. And He is hope!
This Christmas, I pray that you will bow – not just in reverence before the manager of the Savior; but in realization that He is your only hope for today and for your eternal future.
The Savior of the world has come, and he is Hope! Immanuel, God with us!
In the middle of the mess – He freely came
To sinful, broken men- He sacrificially gave
The Gift of Jesus – He pledged His love
For Hope Has Come!
Linda Jane Dingeldein
Different by Design
Glory came at Christmas. “But you, O LORD, are a shield around me; You are my glory, the one who holds my head high. Psalm 3:3 (NLT)
We can have confident hope in God! Nothing else in this world provides the solid foundation of hope that we can find in Christ alone.
This Christmas season, what struggles, longings, brokeness, or lonliness do you need to find hope for?
Stop and pray.
Ask the God of all hope to fill you with His eternal hope for these seemingly impossible and hopeless situations.
May the God of all hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him. today! *Read it for yourself in the book of Romans, Chapter 15 and verse 13.
As I reflect on the struggles in my life, I know that as long as I have You, I have hope. God, thank-you that even when I can’t figure out how to handle my current situation, or the unknowns of my future; that You are already in my future and You promise to lead and guide me along the best pathways of life for me.
Thank you God, that You are a shield around me. You are the One who lifts my head up when I feel discouraged and downcast. Help me to cast my burdens before You, knowing that You care about me and what I am going through at this very moment.
I rejoice in you Lord Jesus, for You left the spendor of Your heavenly home and came to earth. You walked among the poverty of men’s hearts, and yet You freely sacrificed Your life so that all would have the opportunity to be saved by You and recieve the free gift of eternal life!
What an amazing gift, God, that your would freely give your unconditional love to the world . To me, this is the gift of hope that you bring to me this Christmas season! I rejoice for Immanuel has come. God with me the hope of glory! Amen!
*Prayer scriptures are taken from the New Living Translation of the Bible.
(Jeremiah 29:11; Psalm 32:8; Psalm 3:3; 1 Peter 5:7-8; Philippines 2:5-8; John 3:16; Isaiah 7:14)
Linda Jane Dingeldein: Different by Design recognizes Jesus as our only true source of hope this Christmas season and all year through. May we learn to celebrate Christ by living out of our unique God-given design, as woman who are fashioned for a purpose.
Photographs were taken by Linda Jane Dingeldein in memory of Christmas 2017 Puerto Galera, Philippines
~ Each time we go to the beach I search for a heart stone – to save as a remembrance of our time away. To my delight this little gem was just waiting to be discovered!