Last week, hubby and I stood at the customer service line at our local grocery store to return a jar of Vegenaise. OOPS, we had failed to notice it contained soy. As we waited, we observed our line was short compared to the one beside us.
Those in that line wore huge grins as they carried their hope to the counter. They hoped the number they chose would make them lottery winners.
Could it be they secretly hoped it would make them free and happy?
No criticism here.
I was just like them. Although I never once purchased a lottery ticket, I did put hope in things of this world. I hoped my accomplishments would please God. I hoped my performance would gain His favor. And I hoped what I did would lift me up one notch in the well-done-good-and faithful-servant ranking.
We all do that sometimes. We try and try. With the most honorable intentions, we really do. And in the same way heavy ornaments bend the Christmas tree branch, our endless tasks weigh heavy till we begin to droop, too.
At the end of the day, exhausted and frayed, we drag ourselves to bed. We may not realize that God is aware. He possibly peeks through the window of our heart. He sees the reason for our exhaustion—the constant dashes to put up decorations, to place lights everywhere, to grab the best recipe for pumpkin pie, and to wrap those gifts with green and red shiny paper.
Nothing wrong with that, unless we hope that busyness will fill that for which our heart, mind and soul desperately longs.
Could it be that’s the reason folks all over still live in gloom? They serve misplaced hope at every meal. Emptiness becomes their painful companion And, no jingle bells play for those who hope in the Christmas glitter.
BUT…. “But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not be faint” (Isaiah 40:31 NIV).
We hope in the Christ of Christmas. That’s why we’ll never faint. We’ll never grow weary. We stand in line with a heart overflowing with hope, hope in God alone. That’s when we receive more than we expect, more abundance than any lottery, and more riches than our heart can hold.
And with hope firmly planted in the God of the universe, we walk away with armfuls of reassurance. Confident and secure, we join the Christmas choir that sings: the eyes of the Lord are upon me. I fear the Lord so I trust in His unfailing love (Psalm 33:18 paraphrased).
Once the Christmas tree is put away, the decorations are back in their boxes and leftovers are in the fridge, our only hope still turns to His unfailing love. Our hope increases in His promise that tomorrow is already planned for us. In the hope that our future is safe and guarded by His protection.
True celebration sparks when we open the gift of hope wrapped in His love. We find it overflowing with comfort for lonely moments. Satisfaction for our emptiness. And food for our hungry soul.
Father, as seasons come and go, I thank You for Your gift of hope that shines every day, increases every year, and always sustains me. In Jesus’ name.
Where will you place your hope this Christmas?
Janett Perez Eckles