When I was twelve years old, all I wanted for Christmas was a four wheeler. Literally, that’s all I wanted. And I made it abundantly clear to my parents. I practically begged. I don’t actually remember what I was given that year, but I know that it wasn’t a four wheeler. I was crushed. Every year since then, the same item has been at the top of my Christmas list. I thought that if I asked enough, I’d eventually force my parents to comply. Nope. Each year, I would get my hopes up only to be disappointed. There was even the year that I was given a toy four wheeler in jest… just cruel! I eventually lost all hope of getting that four wheeler.

Have you ever been so disappointed that you lost hope? A loving parent doesn’t give their children everything they want – even if it results in disappointment. Now that I’m a father, I understand this truth. And I still don’t have a four wheeler, but this just might be the year!What are you hoping for right now? Perhaps you simply hope 2021 is better than 2020. Is that too much to ask? I hope you’re right! But I’ve also learned that true hope is more than wishful thinking. The biblical sense of hope is rooted in assurance and trust in a faithful God. And Christmas is a reminder that there’s a hope that doesn’t disappoint.

The birth of Jesus was the fulfillment of hundreds of years of prophecy in the Old Testament promising a Messiah. For centuries, the Israelites eagerly awaited the Promised One. Matthew quotes the prophet Isaiah: 

All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).
Matthew 1:22-23

In Luke 2, Mary and Joseph presented baby Jesus in the temple. A righteous man named Simeon and a widow named Anna who had both been waiting for the coming Messiah rejoiced at His arrival. God kept His promise. He sent a Savior. 

God is with us. Think about that. Right now, no matter what you are facing… God is not distant. And He loves you so much that He gave His one and only son that you may have eternal life by believing in Him. Talk about hope! 

God never promised that we’d be free from trouble in this life, but He did promise that we wouldn’t face it alone. You may have a tendency to simply hope for change when life hurts. You may think that a change in circumstance is the answer to all of your problems. But what if God is using this season to produce something in You that you wouldn’t experience otherwise?

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.
Romans 5:3-5

As we approach Christmas, take some time to reflect on the hope that we have in Christ – knowing that no matter what you’re facing, God is with you. And He’s using your circumstances to produce something in you. Jesus is the greatest gift the world has ever known – even better than a four wheeler.

Heavenly Father, as Christmas approaches we remember the birth of our Savior, Jesus. Thank you for the hope that you gave us as you sent your only son into this world. Help us to see that you are with us. Nothing is too difficult for you or out of your control. Thank you for the greatest gift of eternal life through salvation in Jesus. Please produce in me what you see fit during this season and allow me to fully experience your hope that doesn’t disappoint. In Jesus’ name. Amen.