Hope In A Season of Hardship

"But the angel said, 'Don’t be afraid! I have good news for you, which will make everyone happy. This very day in King David’s hometown a Savior was born for you. He is Christ the Lord.'" Luke 2:10-11 CEV

A lot people have decorated their Christmas tree, put up the outdoor lights or baked favorite cookies by this time in December. Radio stations and streaming services continuously bombard the airwaves with new inventions of stalwart Christmas tunes. Mailboxes are perpetually jammed with marketing flyers that profess the 'greatest sale of the year' will take place at 6 a.m. Saturday. Calendars are sometimes populated with what may feel like endless events such as winter concerts, volunteer opportunities, office parties, small group get togethers and a host of family obligations.

All this busyness can be symptomatic of an underlying truth many people try to avoid. Christmas can be hard.

The Christmas after my parents' divorce stands out as a particularly hard for me. But, there were others like the Christmas without my grandmother or the many Christmases I was single praying that God would send me someone I could love and love me in return. There were years I just wanted Christmas to be over. I think my dreamy somewhat romantic expectation of what Christmas should be got in the way of what Christmas can be.

If Christmas is hard for you this year, let me share a little good news. God has not forgotten us. He is with us now and he offers us a place with him for eternity. The good news of great joy was delivered via angels to shepherds long ago. But, we have to receive the good news in our own hearts. Some of us need to hear this message over and over again. Jesus is our hope even in the midst of the most unfavorable circumstances. Jesus is all the proof we need that God is not only interested but deeply invested in us. Christmas can be a season of renewed hope. Jesus is our hope. No one can ever take that away. There will most certainly be seasons when darkness seems to invade our world. But, remember that hope breaks into our world even through the darkest of nights.

The light keeps shining in the dark, and darkness has never put it out. John 1:5 CEV

-Pastor Jen

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