Today is Christmas. But for hundreds of millions of people around the world, today is the the pinnacle of a season of expectation, reflection, and intentional slowing down. Over the 24 days preceding today, Christians have celebrated the season of Advent, remembering the promises of God and how the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob remained faithful to those promises.
The climax of the story, of course, is the life of Jesus, whose arrival we celebrate today.
Three years ago, I wrote about how "Christmas in our part of the world is wrapped in consumerism and traditions that frankly don't represent who Jesus is." I continue to believe this is true.
However, this year, in the spirit of Advent, I would like to briefly reflect on hope.
This year, of course, has been widely unpredictable between the global pandemic, racial unrest, and the chaotic election season. The foundations of our society have at times felt unstable, revealing an overabundance of uncertainty.
But today, as on Easter, we are reminded that time and truth are grounded in the realized promises of a faithful God.
The biblical story explains how God worked with the family of Abraham, remaining faithful to them — and his promise to restore all of humanity through Abraham's family — despite their unfaithfulness to him. Every time the Israelites turned away from God, revealing their need for heart circumcision, God moved toward them. No amount of rebellion or hard-heartedness could prevent God from being faithful to his covenant promises.
And so it is with us.
God has moved toward you in the person of Jesus, extending to you an invitation of hope — that the promise of God, realized in the life and death of Jesus, is a promise in which you get to participate.
Amid the uncertainty of our times, there is eternal certainty in the creator of the universe, the one who created you in his image and wants relationship with you. That is the security in which you want to place your hope. Put your hope in the God who remains faithful despite everything.
Ann Voskamp writes, "I don't want a Christmas you can buy. I don't want a Christmas you can make. What I want is a Christmas you can hold. A Christmas that holds me, remakes me, revives me. I want a Christmas that whispers, JESUS."