Although HOPE is not traditionally a symbol of CHRISTmas, it has everything to do with CHRISTmas because JESUS is our hope.
He is our hope of tomorrow. He tells us in John 3:16 that "For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have EVERLASTING life." Our life is hid in Him, it is eternal, everlasting. The knowledge of that gives me hope. Paul wrote that if our hope was only in Christ in THIS life only, our lives would be most miserable. (I Cor. 15: 18-20)
Our hope is also in the fact that one day, by the power of the Holy Spirit, we will be made righteous. "For we through the Spirit, by faith, are waiting for the hope of righteousness." Although God sees us now as righteous through the blood of Christ, one day when we shed this earthly body and no longer have a sin nature, we will finally truly be righteous. I don't know about you, but that gives me a great deal of hope to know that I will not always be plagued by the sin nature.
We also have hope in knowing that one day we will see JESUS and will spend eternity with Him!! Paul again speaks of hope in Colossians 1: 4-6 when he refers to our hope as "the hope which is laid up for you in Heaven." Jesus Himself gave us this hope in John 14: 1-4 when He promised us "Let not your hearts be troubled. You believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house [Heaven] are many mansions. If it were not so, I would have told you. I am going to prepare a place for you. If I go to prepare a place for you I will come back and receive you to Myself that where I am, there ye may be also."
That gives me the greatest HOPE of all...that one day I will SEE JESUS myself, face to face. He is waiting for me. He is preparing a place for me. And, it also reminds me and gives me the hope that I will see my loved ones there as well.
A year ago today, our sweet Mamaw went to be with the Lord. Oh how we have missed her!! It has been difficult for all of us to adjust to the absence of her presence. Those twinkling blue eyes, her beautiful smile, her mischievousness and her wonderful sense of humor and most of all, her great love for her family are things each of us miss. So many times this past year, I've been hit by a sudden and unexpected wave of grief as something would trigger a memory of her. As my daughter and I were at her house going through some things recently, I came across some business cards that my daughter had made her so that she could hand them out to "customers" who wanted to purchase her fried pies, banana nut bread and other goodies that she was famous for making. My eyes filled with tears and I had to choke back the emotions that flooded my heart. I was reminded of the love that went into making those cards and the joy with which they were received...a special bond between granddaughter and grandmother. Just last week I was walking into church for our granddaughter's preschool program, when out of nowhere I was slammed again as I remembered that it was just a year ago that I walked into church for a preschool program, only that day was overshadowed by tremendous grief as I knew that day that Mamaw was in the hospital and she was dying. I remembered how hard that day had been. I remembered how terribly difficult that entire week had been...probably one of the hardest of our family's life.
But today I have HOPE. Hope that I will see her again one day. Hope that tells me that although we are sad without her presence, we KNOW that she is with Jesus and that she is dancing with the angels! (She loved to dance as a young girl!) And, if there is food in Heaven, you can be assured that her mansion is filled with the smell of banana nut bread cooking in the oven and peanut butter cookies fill her cookie jar. I also have the hope that she is happy, all tears have been wiped from her eyes and there is no more pain, no more worry, and no more death. She is at the feet of her Savior, worshipping Him, and her worship has just begun because as one of her favorite songs tells " when we've been there 10,000 years, bright shining as the sun, we've no less days to sing God's praise than when we first begun". [Amazing Grace]
Today we can rejoice in our Savior JESUS CHRIST whose birth we celebrate this CHRISTmas. Because our hope is in Him, we have bright HOPE for the future...a hope that is eternal and true for all who know Him and call Him Savior.
9 hours ago