By now most of us have the decorations up, the gift list almost completed, the menus planned, and the travel arrangements mapped out and we hope everything will go according to our plans. But when we use this word, hope, is that just wishful thinking? Are we simply wishing our hard work, plans, and gifts will turn out? Do we truly understand what hope really means? If so should we not expect with confidence that everything will go as planned? If we hope, we should believe fulfillment will occur with our plans. Are we willing to do whatever is necessary or needed for our Christmas plans to come true? Hope sounds a bit daunting when we put its real meaning behind it. Have we come to rely on only what we can see then to make things happen? Is that what gives us confidence, what we can see? Is Christmas about whatÂ we seeÂ or what is unseen? Our focus verse this week is 2 Corinthians 4:18:
”So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but what is unseen. What is seen is temporary but what is unseen is eternal.”(NIV)
Christmas is about the gift of hope sent from God, our Father, because of His great love for us. Hope, the true meaning, has nothing to do with wishes but actually means to expect with a confidence. It is a beliefÂ of a fulfillment in a promise, a promise from God, predicted, written, and verbally passed on since the Old Testament times. The archaic meaning of hope comes from the word trust. Trust means to depend on something in the future. The wise men traveled thousands of miles because they ”trusted” the predictions of the Old Testament. They were seeking the Messiah and they were willing to go toÂ extreme measuresÂ to find Him. They sought Him out because of the promised hope. But they couldn’t see what they sought before arriving but yet the confidence to keep moving forward was there.
Paul tells us in Romans 8:24-25;
”We were given this hope when we were saved. (If we already have something, we don’t need to hope for it. But if we look forward to something we don’t yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently.)” (NLT)
So, what should we hope for among the unseen and what gives us the confidence to do so? We should seek the hope of the future glory with patience, persistence, and focus. The Bible says we must focus our eyes to the eternal, the unseen. So as we look at hope we must first ”fix our thoughts on Jesus”, our hope of eternity, as Hebrews 3:1 tells us. As we turn our thoughts upon Jesus we realize that He is both the seen and unseen which strengthens our belief in the fulfilling of God’s promise.
Paul points out inÂ Â Colossians 1:15;
”Christ is the visible image of the invisible God.” (NLT)
These words should certainly allow us to gaze on the unseen with confidence. God has provided both, the seen and unseen, for us to erase all doubt. God has given us a firm expectationÂ brimming withÂ confidence in belief that He will fulfill His promises to us if we ”fix our eyes” on Christ andÂ the eternal.
So as we enter the last week before the Holy Day of Christmas we should be as wise men seeking with hope to find Jesus as they did and place the focus of all our plans there. Hope is found in the eternal, the unseen, for what we see will soon be gone.
This week let’s remember the true meaning of hope, as I pray for you in the words of Paul in Romans 15:13;
”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.”(NIV)
As you celebrate this Christmas, place your eyes on the unseen invisible GodÂ with the hope [beliefÂ of the fulfillment] in the promise given through the visible Christ child we celebrate.