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The Hope of Christmas…Is the Cross

Posted by on December 10, 2014

“I hope it doesn’t rain tomorrow.”

“I hope ________ makes it home safely.”

“I hope my team wins.”

When we say we’re hoping for something, it usually means acknowledging there’s a chance it won’t happen. What we’re really saying is, “I wish it not to rain tomorrow.” Or “I strongly desire ________ makes it home safely.” And “I want my team to win.”

But hope, as it’s used in the Bible, has a whole different meaning. A couple different Hebrew words carry a connotation of trust and waiting. In the New Testament, the Greek words for hope mean confidence and expectation.

Waiting in confident trust and expectation versus wishing and wanting. See the difference?

This past weekend, in our community, two teenagers lost their lives in a tragic accident. For their friends and families and the many others who are dealing with serious illness, financial trouble, and untold stresses, Christmas doesn’t hold a lot of “hope” as we currently understand it.

But the “hope” of Christmas isn’t simply wishing for and wanting something. It’s a time of confident expectation. Why? Surprisingly, it’s not because of a sweet little baby in a manger, but because of a cross and an empty tomb.

Christmas would have no meaning, no significance without Good Friday and the Resurrection. Even with all the fanfare of an angel choir announcing his birth and a special star in the sky, Jesus would’ve been just another popular teacher, like Muhammad and Buddha, if not for the cross and the tomb. Our hope—our confident expectation and trust—is not based on something we wish for.

The hope of Christmas rests firmly in the finished mission of Jesus Christ—forgiveness of our sins and the gift of eternal life.

No need to acknowledge that it might not happen. It’s already done.

Throughout the Bible, Israel’s hope was in God and His promise of a savior. No wishing was necessary, because the character of God is trustworthy and unchanging. His promise is a sure thing, something to wait for with confident expectation.

 

The authors at HopeSprings books are doing an Advent giveaway. I’m sure you’re hoping to win the grand prize which will be drawn on December 22. To enter the drawing you must leave a comment here, which will also qualify you for a drawing of my latest book, Speak No Evil. I’ll announce the winner of my book right here on Sunday.

Don’t know what to say? Tell me one thing about the Christmas holiday reminds you of that confident expectation–Hope! 

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12 Responses to The Hope of Christmas…Is the Cross

  1. bn100

    the way people treat each other better during the holidays

    • Mary Hamilton

      Yes! If only we could keep that attitude throughout the year, especially when we’re behind the steering wheel or in a long line! Thanks for joining the conversation!

  2. Susan P

    I love this. Hope is definitely a word we use loosely instead of seeing the real meaning of it. I will now try to use it to its full potential! I cannot imagine the losses of those families. We are trying to help our elderly neighbor through this first Christmas without her dear husband. We will keep them all in mind and in our prayers!

  3. Yolanda Gamble

    Thank you for the chance! Christmas time is such a wonderful time of the year. Everyone seems extra specially caring and kind towards one another. It gives us hope that this will spread throughout the entire year and that we can all remember the true meaning of Christmas!

  4. Peggy Wirgau

    Our pastor always gives his Christmas message about the hope of Christmas being Easter morning. Well done, Mary!

  5. juliebcosgrove

    My favorite ornament on my tree it a Christmas tree on one side and a bare cross on the other. I always put it front and center. Thanks for your hope-full words. My prayers at with the families of those kids who lost their lives, that God will bring them the true comfort and joy of this season.

  6. Teresa Danner Kander

    We just discussed in Bible study Monday night how Christmas reminds of Easter and the sacrifice made for us.

I welcome your thoughts on this.