Desperate for Hope

The holiday season has officially begun with Thanksgiving behind us and Christmas just over the horizon. Decorations are in full swing everywhere you look and nighttime drives are filled with the awe of looking at Christmas lights. I know everyone is different when it comes to decorating for Christmas, I myself am strictly an after Thanksgiving decorator. However, this year, I found myself longing to put everything up early. I was also surprised at the number of people I saw putting their trees up in early November. I read post after post of people saying things like, I just felt compelled to put everything up early, or I just couldn’t wait to put stuff up. I thought about why that was. What is it about Christmas decorations that makes us long to put them up and this year more so than years past? As I thought about the past 2 years and all that has transpired in our world, it seems that we are desperate for hope. This pandemic has lingered so long. Just when we think perhaps the end is in sight, it comes back with a vengeance and brings despair once again. So much loss, so much sickness, so much animosity, so much darkness. Christmas brings hope. It brings light into darkness literally and spiritually. Darkness surrounds us this time of year and as we put up those decorations and light them up we feel we are pushing back the darkness just a bit. The spirit of Christmas that often goes dormant during the year rises inside of us and others and our despair seems to lessen.

It was no different 2,000 years ago when in the dark of night, in a dark place during dark times, the light of the world was born. Born into our darkness to shine the light of hope, joy, and peace. Jesus came to end night for us, to end the darkness and bring light that can not be extinguished. I love the way Charles Spurgeon writes of this.

“The coming of Jesus to us, when he does really come into our hearts, takes away the darkness of ignorance, sorrow, carelessness, fear and despair. Our night is ended once for all when we behold God visiting us in Christ Jesus. Our day may cloud over, but night will not return. O, you that are in the blackest midnight, if you can but get a view of Christ, morning will have come for you! There is no light for you elsewhere, believe us in this; but if Jesus be seen by faith, you shall need no candles of human confidence, nor sparks of feelings and impressions: the beholding of Christ shall be the ending of all night for you.” C.H. Spurgeon

This year more than most, we feel the darkness pressing in. It feels oppressive and overwhelming at times. We try our best in our human efforts to push it back, but the truth is only Jesus can light up the darkness.

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.” John 1:5

Only Jesus shines light that can’t be overcome by the surrounding darkness. In our desperation for hope, we must look to the only one who can truly bring that hope. Christmas decorations are wonderful and they add beauty to the night, but unless they point us to the true light, the true meaning Christmas, they are merely a temporary distraction from the darkness. Look to the light that never gets packed away, look to Jesus and hope will rise as darkness fades. With Jesus, the light of Christmas can be a part of us all year long.

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