Christmas is a week away.
For many of us, this will be a vastly different Christmas. We haven’t had the usual celebrations. We may have to skip the usual visit of relatives, or maybe we are scaling down the visit in some way. For some, the pandemic has led to a job loss or a decline in income, and gift giving isn’t what it usually is. Some of us are facing a Christmas for the first time without loved ones.
It’s tempting to think we are without hope.
We are never without hope.
No matter what happens in the world or in our lives, no matter how challenging a time we are facing personally or together, the good news of the gospel does not change, and it is that gospel we celebrate next week. We celebrate because it is our hope.
The coming of Christ is the beginning of the realization of God’s plan of salvation for his people. God has come in the flesh to call his people to himself. He looks at the need we have for a remedy from sin and our need for hope, and he gives his life as an offering for us. And in that offering he defeats the power of death to return to life.
God does all of this for us because he loves us and wants us with him. God comes for us at Christmas!
In 2 Corinthians 4, Paul is explaining the hardships he has endured in sharing the gospel with others, and he reminds the Corinthians, that no matter how hard the temporary struggles may be, they do not change the hope we have in Christ.
Therefore, we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So, we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Cor. 4:16-18)
The way we celebrate Christmas this year may not be the way any of us imagined. But the momentary struggles of 2020 do not and will not change the love of God and the grace we have in Christ Jesus. And for this reason, we celebrate!
May this Christmas season renew all of us as we place our hope in the unchanging, eternal glory that God brings to us at Christmas!