I feel like I want to go nuts! Since October, every shop I enter bombards my senses with festive songs, bright colours and smells that are heavenly. The message: Christmas is coming, life is good and there is much to celebrate. This message of joy continues until I walk past the first person that is not a sales consultant. A very different picture emerges: No smiles, rushed walking, bags under the eyes and just a general sense of tiredness and irritation. The problem is that when I start looking around me I notice that there isn’t much of a difference in most people’s expressions. The contrast between what is being sold and who it is being sold to is honestly something that cannot be ignored.
Have we forgotten the meaning of real joy? Or, have we maybe just put our bets in the wrong place, trying to find our hope in things that are failing us in some way or another? The world is trying to sell us a dream that in truth is just a temporary bubble and when that bubble bursts there is no foundation to keep us standing.
When I see and experience these things around me, I have a sense of sadness and I am forced to sit and reflect on what and who I have put my hope and joy in. Paul writes the following to the Roman church:
And again Isaiah says, “The root of Jesse will come, even he who arises to rule the Gentiles; in him will the Gentiles hope.”
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope (Romans 15:12-13) (ESV)
Hope and joy goes together. We cannot find that deep seated joy that fills your heart and your life if you do not have something that will keep a sense of hope alive in you. That hope, is Christ Jesus. He is the only one that has given me a hope that there is something more to this life we are living.
We have all experienced some dark days in our lives, some more than others, but so far the only thing that has been able to lift me out of those times have been the knowledge that through my salvation I have received a hope of more than today – Eternal life with my Lord, and the knowledge that even though I cannot see a way out in a specific situation that nothing is impossible for my God. When my worldly bubble burst, which it does with all of us at some stage, I know that I won’t fall far because Christ Jesus is my foundation to protect me from those situations.
Yes, Christmas is a time of celebration, but not what the marketplace sells to us. The celebration is the reminder that God, the Father, has given us all the hope of a future when He allowed Jesus Christ to die in our place and overcame death with His resurrection. That is what I am putting my hope and joy in.
My life is in You, Lord, my strength is in You, Lord
My hope is in You, Lord, in You, it’s in You
(Don Moen, My Life is in You)