BAH-HUMBUG! Have you Misplaced your Hope?
“Where are you Christmas
Why can't I find you
Why have you gone away
Where is the laughter
You used to bring me
Why can't I hear music play
My world is changing
Does that mean Christmas changes too
Where are you Christmas
Do you remember
The one you used to know
I'm not the same one
See what the time's done
Is that why you have let me go”
We’ve all seen the live-action version of the movie, The Grinch? Do you know the part where Cindy Lou Hoo sings “Where Are You Christmas?” It pulls on your heart strings a little because it’s easy to relate. Trials can change who we are as a person and transform our perspective if we allow it.
It seems like my mind has divided my Christmas memories into Christmases before addiction and Christmases after addiction. In the blink of an eye, the happiest time of the year turns into the saddest. Satan loves to steal our joy like that. But really, it isn’t Christmas that has changed. It’s us.
They say addiction is a family disease. Sin can be too, if we let it. We can’t allow the sin of our loved ones to harden our hearts. When we experience feelings of worry and doubt, we have to remember where those feelings come from. Those feelings are not from God.
Instead of Christmas shopping, you might be trying to figure out how you’re going to afford a Christmas with an empty checking account. You could be trying to come up with believable excuses as to why you can’t go to your nosy Aunt Karen’s this year because everybody and their mama is going to be there with way too many questions you don’t want to answer. Is it your first year planning Christmas as a single parent? Maybe you’re just stuck in a rut right now and can’t really pinpoint where the hurt is coming from? Regardless of what has you feeling down, we can all look up for comfort.
When we focus on the true meaning of Christmas, we aren’t left searching for peace because the Prince of Peace has already arrived. He’s here. He knows the pain in the deepest parts of our hearts, and because of Christmas, we can fully expect that pain to turn into joy as His plan for our life unfolds.
“For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
-Isaiah 9:6 (NIV)
Ask yourself a question, what would you do if you knew someone was going to break into your house tonight and steal all the presents under the Christmas tree? You’d be on high alert, phone in one hand, protection in the other. You’d be ready. So why aren’t we as defensive against the devil, especially when the value of material things can’t even compare to the value of our hearts and minds? We have to defend our hope.
Spiritual warfare is real. Satan is going to try to divert your attention to anything that will steal your joy and take the focus away from the true meaning of Christmas. He is going to lie to you, so be ready to recognize and discard those lies.
The birth of Christ gifted us with an unending hope. Because of God’s grace, we can face our trials with the same childlike-expectation of Christmas morning because “we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him…” (Romans 8:28 NIV)
We can’t speak for our loved ones. We don’t know if they will overcome their addiction. We don’t know what our family is going to look like a year from now. The hope we have in our loved ones isn’t the biblical hope we have in God. We can’t put our hope in worldly things or other people because sooner or later we will be disappointed. We have to put our hope in Jesus.
“Because of God’s tender mercy, the morning light is about to break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, and to guide us to the path of peace.”
-Luke 1:78-79 (NLT)
Biblical hope isn’t just a wish. It’s our confident belief in response to God’s promise. However, in our faith we can be certain that God loves our loved ones too. Jesus was sent to save our loved ones and with great consequence. God wants their salvation as much as he wants ours.
“And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him, to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.”
-Luke 1:76-79 (NIV)
Your Christmas may look different this year. There may not be as many presents under the tree. Christmas dinner may not have as many side dishes. There may be one parent sitting where there used to be two. Maybe you’re celebrating Christmas at the facility where your loved one is attending rehab. Regardless of what Christmas looks like on the outside this year, the heart of Christmas is still the same. On December 25th, open those sleepy eyes with great anticipation of all the wonderful things God is going to do in your life. Lift your eyes to your Father and celebrate the birth of His son with Him. If you’ve misplaced your hope, that’s the first place I’d look.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
-Romans 15:13 (NIV)
Grey Ministries loves you and hopes you have a very merry, hopeful Christmas.