Finding HOPE in Christmas-Advent: Week 1 Reflection
We live in crazy times.
Look at how people respond to injustice. Whether it is race, religion, politics, or money......people respond to injustice; however, we often respond in an equally unjust way. People watch the news and get ticked off so they protest and block highways, streets, and other roadways. They threaten violence while people are late to work or taking their children to the doctor because they (protestors) are holding up traffic. Families have to be afraid to leave their home due to being in the wrong place at the right time.
Where is hope in that mess?
It will be tough to find. As long as people serve their own needs and agendas, you will have a hard time finding hope on this Earth. I am not saying it is impossible. But it will be difficult.
Let's go Old School for a minute. Back in the day (long time ago), Adam and Eve were given free reign over the Garden of Eden. They listened to the serpent and disobeyed God. God had given them free will and they could not handle it. They had perfect union with God and they chose to do their own thing. They failed. This is often referred to as Original Sin.
Fast forward to today. We have that choice within us to choose right or wrong. Good or evil. Life or death. Freedom.or entrapment. Light or darkness. Our choices have consequences both here on Earth and towards the eternal realm. Here is why Christmas is vital.
What are you hoping for this Christmas?
Are you hoping for your circumstances to change?
After asking these questions, then ask yourself how much control you have over the situations that frustrate you. Is it your fault people walk all over you? Your lack of happiness at home, work, etc.......what parties are involved that can remedy this situation? Is it you, your spouse, family, friends......who can help you break free?
During Christmas, we often hope for things that are materialistic. I hope for a new tool set. I hope for more toys. I hope for Frozen merchandise. (Just "Let It Go" already). We hope and hope and hope. But for what? Things that get old, break, fade away, or get donated by mid-January to the Salvation Army.
We also put much hope in people. But let's get honest here. People will fail you. I will fail you. We fail each other. People make mistakes. People sin. People have motives---sometimes good and sometimes bad. I will take it a step further............
The Enemy (Satan) loves for Christians to fight other Christians. He loves it. That is why he does not have to do much work in the church. He just lets Christians duke it out over theology, sacraments, worship styles, and carpet colors. And here is where he sucks the hope out of Christians. Christians can develop a "my church is the only church" mentality and Satan has them. The elitist mindset takes over their beliefs. And then everything they do is wrapped up in their external identity (pleasing others/looking holy) instead of their heart before God. Dressing up for church is not a guarantee that you will go to Heaven or that you know Jesus. It is ok to dress up but that is not the heart of Christianity. That is the heart of Churchianity.
There is hope in the chaos of this world. There is hope in Christmas. But it will not be a quick prayer or another Christmas song. The hope we seek is in Jesus. Yes, he is the reason for the Season but it is much deeper than that. He wants to be in relationship with us more than at Christmas. He wants to be with us all of the time....to guide us......free us from sin/ourselves......to provide us with hope that there are greater things than what is present before us.