Hope is found in some really strange places. In the case of the Christmas story, it’s found in a couple of babies, some shepherds, and maybe less surprising, some angels. As much as hope is an idea or concept, the Christmas story really brings the message of hope to life and makes it something tangible that people were able to not only see but touch. We can’t touch or see any of the people from the Christmas story, but we do have signs all around us that remind us of them like nativities we have in our homes and churches, plays telling the story, and stained glass windows in churches of scenes from the Christmas story.
The Bible is a journey of ups and downs, much like our lives are. We may not be able to relate to living in tents or being nomadic or fighting wars and battles or all the farming like some of the people in the Bible, but we can relate to the different interpersonal struggles they have and other challenges they face in their lives about safety, food, family and money. Where the story of Jesus is found is after many books of struggle and doom and gloom from the prophets. Yes, they had some words of encouragement too, but a lot of it was God reminding the people that they’re living in sin and not listening to Him. And then we happen upon the story of Elizabeth and Zechariah who find out they’re going to have John the Baptist, and the whole story of Mary and Joseph and angels and long trips and shepherds and wise men. It’s a bit of a surprise, and very refreshing to read this whole story after reading the struggles the Israelites had gone through for so many years.
The struggles weren’t over just because Jesus was born, nor were they after He died and rose again. But finally there was a definite light at the end of the tunnel. The prophesies were finally going to come true, we finally have something to look forward to after dealing with all that we do in this life, and there’s nothing that can take away or change Jesus being here and being part of the story of the Bible, no number of bad days, or amount of suffering and struggle.
Some of us are struggling as we reach the end of this year and work through the Christmas season, things that aren’t typically erased by Christmas celebrations or the story of hope that we’re hearing. My prayer is that even though the struggle won’t likely be removed from your life, God would bless you with some hope this month. Hope that you aren’t alone and that it’s hard to beat the crazy story that is the Christmas story. Don’t give up and don’t lose hope.
“The people who walk in darkness will see a great light. For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine.” Isaiah 9:2