Written Dec 2014: Every year I put up the same Christmas decorations. One of my standards is stocking holders that sit on my mantle and spell “HOPE”. It reminds me of the daughter I never had. I have a beautiful daughter (inside and out) named Mercy and a wonderful son, Micaiah, but always wanted another daughter that I would have named Hope. And I tried. Besides the two pregnancies that gave me the above precious children, I was pregnant four other times. Each time my heart would enlarge with joy and love and expectation (or hope) for what this little life would be. Then each time, it would be followed by the devastation of miscarriage and the knife that tears away another piece of my heart. While miscarriages happen every day, there is nothing simple or commonplace about them. Each loss was traumatizing. Each – tragic. Now my child bearing days are over… and I never did get my Hope. Every time I see the word, I think of her and feel sad. And this year was no different. Then I saw that word again in the title of our Nativity production this year, “the Hope of Christmas.” It made me start to wonder what hope really means. It reminded me that there was a reason that I wanted to name my little girl Hope. While the world thinks of hope as a wish for something they may or may not receive, the Bible talks of hope as “a strong and confident expectation” that what the Word says is true. Hope for a Christian is the confidence that, although we cannot see the work that God is doing, because we believe the Word to be true and can see the results of God’s work around us, we can expect Him to do what He says He will do. The Hope of Christmas is Jesus and His redemptive work. Without Christ, I would have no hope of being reconciled to God or seeing heaven. I would have no hope of experiencing God’s presence or receiving any of the promises mentioned in the Word. And yet there is so much more. Ephesians chapter 1 verses 17-21 say:
I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.
Oh that the eyes of my heart would be opened! That I might begin to understand the real meaning of the hope that I have as a believer.
Is it coincidence that God sent the Hope of the world in the form of a child – a baby? Doesn’t the birth of every child provoke the feeling of expectation and hope? Doesn’t it naturally promote celebration? Perhaps God was trying to help me understand that He is the fulfillment of all my expectations and the only Hope that I need. Christ isn’t just my salvation, but a reason to celebrate! He is the source of my life and hope and peace. He is the cause of my life being worth living and living it abundantly! Because of the hope that I find in Him, I have the hope that perhaps one day, I will meet my Hope. I will pray along with the author of Romans (15:13): May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. This Christmas season I will let Hope live in me.