Everyone views Christmas in a different way. For those who do not celebrate it, Christmas is just one of many federal holidays that offers little more than a vacation day away from work.
Even for those Christians who do celebrate Christmas, the day can often have a variety of meanings and feelings attached to it.
Children may see Christmas only as a day in which Santa Claus brings them gifts from “wish lists” that were once prepared for Santa’s eyes only but now magically appear under the Christmas tree.
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For some, it is a day that will be spent alone without family or friends due to circumstances beyond their control.
Still others will find themselves where they have been the other 364 days of the year. They will be homeless and struggling just to get through the day without a desire to be reminded of past family traditions at Christmastime, when huddling around a warm fireplace to exchange presents was once heartwarming, but now too painful to relive.
What Christmas evokes in me and so many others I know, differs with the circumstances we find ourselves in each year.
This year, one word truly resonates with how I feel about this upcoming Christmas. I feel “hopeful” for a brighter future for my country. I’m optimistic that things are going to turn out ok.
You may be thinking that this is quite naïve of me with numerous unsettling events in the news and the possibility that circumstances regarding terrorist attacks could worsen both at home and abroad in the upcoming days and months.
You could also be thinking that there is one year left for the Obama administration to completely transform this nation into a country where we risk losing even more of our freedoms and question how this could produce a feeling of hope.
Or you may rightfully point out that the $1.1 trillion omnibus bill just added more debt to an already impossible liability to repay making our children and our grandchildren’s financial future more hopeless than hopeful.
Additionally, you may adamantly seek to remind me that the American culture is being destroyed and possibly altered forever by the Obama administration’s efforts to flood out country with refugees who are admittedly not properly vetted.
I’m aware of all of the components that have been concocted to take this country down but it doesn’t make me any less hopeful. Why, you may ask?
I am hopeful because I know that “man” is not in charge. We, as Christians, must live our lives for God and not for man. We also must not live our lives in fear, but rather we must live them in faith.
Once nestled in a manger in Bethlehem, the One who came to give us “hope” lay sleeping while kings traveled from afar to honor Him.
His mother and father watching over the baby, beheld the Savior who had just been born. It was the birth of a Savior who became sin so that we might be forgiven of our sins and who died for us so that we could have everlasting life.
How could anyone not be hopeful during this season when, as Christians, we know who gives us life and promises a future that is beyond comparison to any future that we may ever experience on this earth? It is a future that is filled with signs of His love for us.
Every day, I see those signs from God in the form of miracles that only God could have arranged.
The recent rescuing of Iraqi Christians, removed from the threat of the Islamic State and taken to their new Slovakian home after many other countries had denied them a place of safety is evidence of God’s love.
It gives me hope and should give you hope to know that there are decent and compassionate people, like those involved with rescuing Iraqi Christians, who still come together to do the right thing, not because they think they have to, but because they know that God wants them to.
It also gives me hope to know those who would give up the comfort of their warm beds and precious little time with family to provide for our United States homeless veterans when they are not “legally” obligated to do so but feel a moral obligation to serve others as Christ did.
Just look around. There is plenty to be hopeful for this season.
I put my hope in a God who came to give us hope that one day all of us will celebrate Christmas together in a place where everyone knows each other and we’re all one family.
I am hopeful for you and your family that you will also experience the joy and love that is shared at Christmas and all-year-round when we never forget, that not only is He the reason for the season, but He is the reason for all seasons.
If you don’t celebrate Christmas, I wish you well and pray that you experience peace and happiness this holiday season.
And for my brothers and sisters who do celebrate Christmas, I wish you a very Merry Christmas and God-filled hope for the New Year!
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