The Hope of Christmas


"The LORD is my portion," says my soul, 
"therefore I will hope in him."
Lamentations 3:24 (RSV)

Here in the USA, the "Holiday Season" of Thanksgiving, Hanukah, Christmas, and New Year's, is known to evoke a myriad of emotions -- including apathy.

Most often, in the various media outlets, we hear story upon story about those who are down on their luck for one reason or another. Each story is told to elicit a wave of sympathy and compassion. All in the hope of getting you to respond in a manner that will temporarily assuage their physical and/or emotional discomfort and distress.

Each backstory that is told as to how and why they are caught-up their current dilemma, has a nugget of truth in it, but it is not the whole story. The story that is told is usually embellished. It is embellished because no one is interested in hearing some long, drawn-out account as to how these people got to be in such a turmoil in the first place. The only 'dirty laundry' we are interesting in hearing about is that of people in positions of power and high finance.

Just like Adam and Eve opted to disobey God and eat the forbidden fruit, as is written in the third chapter of The Book of Genesis, we carry on that Family Tradition of living according to our own whims and desires. All the while scratching our collective heads and wondering, "How in the world did everything get to be such a hot mess?!?"

Pursuing our dreams and desires is like getting caught up in quicksand. Everything looks good on the surface, so we have a false sense that their is no need to be cautious. Quicksand is deceiving because its appearance is deceiving. Believe me, I know from personal experience.

There was that time my Grandpa took me fishing to a place I had never been before. He warned me that the sandbars in the river looked dry, but if I tried to walk on any of them, I would immediately sink down into the mud and be stuck. I didn't believe him. So, when he went to get our lunch from the car (which was parked out of sight), I decided I would ignore his warning. I figured that since I was but a boy and barely weighed fifty-pounds, I could get a running start and skim right across the top of those sandbars and get to the other side.

Needless-to-say, I didn't make it across. As soon as I hit that first sandbar, I sank into the mud. The more I struggled to get unstuck, the further I sank. I was about waist-deep in the mud when Grandpa came back over the rise and saw my predicament

Now I was thinking that Grandpa loved me and he would get me out of the mess I got myself into. Instead, he started pointing and laughing at me. He was laughing so hard, he ended up falling down and rolling around on the ground, holding his belly. I was crushed. I started hollering at him to get me out. He told me he had no way to get me out, which scared me a lot! When he finally stopped laughing, he got back up and walked back over the hill where I couldn't see him. I was absolutely terrified.

About five minutes later, he reappeared and was pulling a long, dead tree branch, behind him. He got as close as he could to me and extended the smaller end toward me. It took a few tries before I could hold on long and hard enough for him to pull me out of the mud. I was much relieved, but I lost a shoe in the process. I knew mom would not be happy about that.

QUICKSAND IS APTLY NAMED - because its appearance is deceiving. It looks safe to walk on. But once you step in it, you discover just how fast it sucks you down into the quagmire, as you struggle, helplessly and hopelessly, to be free. If you didn't know better, you would swear it was a trap intentionally set to ensnare you.

Sometimes life mimics quicksand. No no matter how many times we hear other people warn us against the deceptive quagmires of life, we deceive ourselves into thinking we can succeed where others have failed. We convince ourselves THAT will not happen to us, because WE are different. We are special. We are wiser. We are younger. We are stronger. We believe ourselves to be better than those who tried before us and failed.

For those of us who opt to do everything according to our own design and willfully dismiss the wisdom and experience of the ages, there can be no truer epitaph than, "They thought they new better than everyone else."

For those of us who have learned a thing or two over the years and have come to realize that we have placed ourselves "behind the eight ball" there is hope. When we cannot find a way out and no one on earth can help us remedy our situation, there is ONE we can turn to. But not as we would turn to a mechanic to fix our car or something like that. This goes much deeper. This goes to the heart of the issue. That being... our heart.

THE ONLY ONE THAT CAN SATISFY THE HUMAN HEART 
IS THE ONE WHO CREATED IT

Once we come to know, understand, and appreciate the truth that the only hope we can ever have of realizing true peace of mind and contentment of heart, is by letting go of the notion that "I got this!" and fully submit both our heart and our life over to God by placing our faith in His Son, the one we call Jesus [the] Christ. (Promised Messiah, Our Deliverer, Redeemer, and Friend)

If you are feeling down, frustrated, scared, lonely, or hopeless, I encourage you to take the opportunity this Christmas to discover the meaning and value of the First Advent of Christ's coming to Earth, and what that personally means to you and for you.

There is much to be gained by surrendering our life to God's care for us. There is much freedom to be gained by trusting in the promises of God, instead of the false promises of the world and its wicked ways.

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