Are you hoping for a lot of Christmas promises to be fulfilled this year? 7-year-old Alfred isn’t so sure. His letter to Santa this year reads, ”Dear Santa, you didn’t bring me anything good last year. You didn’t bring me anything good the year before that either. This is your last chance!”
Sometimes our desires of Christmas with its hopes and promises just don’t meet our expectations. It might be the disappointment in the decorations or the food. Perhaps the anticipation, buildup, and hype just leave us feeling empty when the day arrives and suddenly is over. According to one report from the National Institute of Health, Christmas is the time of year that people experience the highest incidences of depression.
Perhaps though it has more to do with the fact that happiness isn’t found in the traditions of Christmas. It also isn’t found by buying bigger and better gifts or watching the latest Hallmark Christmas movie. There is no happiness boxed up under the tree or in the tree itself even though the secular side of Christmas appears to say otherwise. Sometimes these disappointments are so great that like Alfred, it leaves us feeling too, that possibly this is Christmas’ last chance. Maybe though the problem with Christmas isn’t Christmas but in how we prepare for it.
Preparing for Promises
Advent is about preparation. The preparation of hope to come. It isn’t a feeling but an awareness that God longs to show us His goodness. He longs to do this not just at Christmas but every day. Through His love and the hope and encouragement that He brings us, all of our days can be filled with confident expectations of His goodness. If we look carefully for His goodness each day it gives us encouragement. He does make good on His promises. We can clearly see that, in the love that was sent down to us that first Christmas night.
He wants us to expect great things from Him today, just as He created great things in the past. We can have lives of expectation when we choose to purposefully be hopeful every day. This is done as we study and get to know Him better. It allows us to embrace hope as it influences our thoughts, attitudes, and the way we see our life.
It was on this first Christmas that God sent His Son to fill the greatest need in our world. He did so with love. It is with our hope in the knowledge of Christ that our encouragement builds to the point that joy is released. As we get to know our Savior better through Scriptures, our attitude towards the present and future fills with peace as we see the promises of God fulfilled.
Developing a Habit of Hope and Encouragement
It is with the solid promise of Christ-mas that we hold encouragement for life and the confidence that God’s will is best for us. A hope habit is formed through the daily practice of seeking God’s goodness. Because He is always looking for ways to be good to us, hope becomes important for us to hold onto. God knows this and so He sent Jesus to be both our hope and encouragement. This is why it is important to secure our hope daily in knowing that there are better things to come from God. This is anchored through daily prayers asking God to renew our hope for the great plans He has for us.
And the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises to be fulfilled.Romans 15:4b(NLT)
The more we know about what God has done in the years past, the greater our hope, encouragement, and confidence builds for what He will do in the future. American author, Clare Boothe Luce said, ”There are no hopeless situations; there are only people who have grown hopeless about them. Through daily Bible study and reading, we can secure our knowledge of God’s promises of the past and find security in the promises of the future. This creates daily hopeful lives.
It is through the faithful reading of the God-breathed words of the Bible, we can learn to depend upon its promises. It is through these entirely authoritative words that we build our faith and life. For God’s promises continue to be filled just as they were on the first Christmas night.
Confidence in the Promises
By getting to know Christ better through the Bible, we will learn how to do Christ’s work in the world. For our knowledge of His Word is not useful unless it strengthens our faith and leads us to do good. Our daily hope and encouragement in life on earth come only from the strength God provides us as we get to know Him better. It is this confidence that moves us forward in life, whether our circumstances are as we want them to be or not.
Won’t you be challenged to prepare during this Advent to get to know your Savior better? Commit to learn His Word and see His fulfilled promises of the past so you can be secure and confident in the promises to come. Allow your convictions to fully seal the goodness of God in your faith. Be motivated to move forward every day with renewed hope and encouragement knowing that God will create something good for you every day. Find comfort in the love that God provided with the greatest promise by sending Christ to earth. He is the greatest Christmas gift we will ever receive. So, let us prepare to celebrate the promise of His birth and all that transpires with it.
Love in Christ,
Christmas is the promise, and Easter is the proof.Unknown
What are Your Thoughts?
Are you preparing to seek hope and encouragement in not only the promises that Christmas brings but other God-breathed promises as well? Will you commit to seeking the hope of goodness each day? Share your thoughts on the promises of God that bring hope and encouragement daily.
Meyer, J. (2013).Â Promises for Your Everyday Life:365 Daily Devotions.Â Fenton: Joyce Meyer Ministries.