BY JORDAN MAYER
“We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain.”
In describing the Christmas season, many people will use the word hopeful. Despite all the stress and strife that has build up over the course of the year, most people will experience what is often described as the “Christmas spirit”. Energy, excitement, and anticipation builds as December 25th draws near. In the weeks following Thanksgiving, people try to be kinder, more patient, more understanding; hope is high. But as soon as the day comes, it passes. The parties end. The tree is taken down and the decorations are put away. As the Christmas festivities fade, so does the apparent hope of the season.
January is often attributed as the most depressing month of the year. It may seem puzzling given its close proximity to the holidays, but it reveals the shallowness of the world’s hope. Like a counterfeit toy, the world’s hope crumbles and breaks. Proverbs 13:12 aptly states, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.”
So how do we cultivate a hope that lasts more than a day, or a month, or a year? Where do we find a hope that is not fleeting, but lasting? We begin by recognizing that hope is not found in a season. It is not a feeling or a vague, abstract sense that everything will just “work out” in the end. It’s not a wish or a crossing of the fingers. You see, our hope is not in something, but rather, someone.
In the book of Hebrews, the author writes to Jewish Christians who were having their own hope crisis. Amidst suffering and persecution, many of them were returning to the Law. It seemed a safe and familiar place to rest their hope upon. But, as the author contends, hope is not found in angels, prophets, priests, or sacrifices. Rather, all these things were meant to point to something greater. They were the copies made to reflect the genuine article. They were the shadows made to reveal the substance. They were all pointing to Jesus, the great prophet, priest, and king. It was Jesus who entered the inner place and tore the curtain gloriously in two, providing access for all to draw near to the throne of grace (Hebrews 4:16).
The Christmas story is the continuation of God’s marvelous plan of salvation for His people. This Jesus, who would die on the cross for our sins, came first as a small baby boy. The hope of the world was born in a manger.
Jesus is our hope. It is not only in what He’s done, but what He still plans to do. The Advent Season is not merely a reminder of his first coming, it is the eager expectation of His second! This is where our hope rests, as a sure and steadfast anchor of our soul.
As we draw near to this blessed Christmas Day, let us anchor ourselves in the Living Hope (1 Peter 1:3), the hope that does not put us to shame (Romans 15:13). And as we rejoice in hope, let us remember that the Good News of the Gospel, the greatest gift the world has ever known, is meant to be shared. Right outside our doors is a world desperate for hope. Let’s show them who He is!