I love to read, especially during the Christmas season. My idea of a perfect December afternoon is being wrapped up in a cozy blanket with a Christmas novella, a cup of coffee near my fingertips, and soft Christmas music playing in the background.
The first Christmas novella I've finished reading this season is titled The Christmas Hope. The author, Donna VanLiere, also wrote The Christmas Shoes and The Christmas Blessing.
In The Christmas Hope, a five-year-old little girl loses her mom in a tragic car accident a few nights before Christmas. The social worker assigned to the case, Patricia, ends up bringing the little girl home with her for the holidays. Though Patricia knows this is against protocol, she feels compelled to do it to keep the child from being further traumatized by having to move in with complete strangers. God is always working behind the scenes, and His faithfulness to restore Patricia's fragile marriage while also bringing hope to an orphan named Emily is on full display. Though this is a sweet fictitious story where foster care and adoption play a vital role in healing hearts and restoring families, it also reminded me that hope is often underestimated.
So, what does hope have to do with joy?
The hope of a true follower of Jesus Christ offers a confident, unwavering anticipation of His return. Hope is why we get up in the morning. Hope motivates us to press on. Hope is a gift from our heavenly Father to sustain us until the next arrival of His Son, when He comes as King of kings and Lord of lords. Hallelujah!
Hope brings us joy.
Joy gives us hope.
Therefore, we can conclude...
Joy is hope.
In Part One of this blog series, we discovered that joy is trust. Mary's heart was joy-full because of her trust and confidence in the Word spoken to her by the angel, Gabriel. Her joy filled her with hope.
In Part Two, Elizabeth was full of joy because the Holy Spirit made known to her, as Mary greeted her in the doorway, that Mary was carrying the long-awaited Messiah in her womb. Joy is faith. Because Elizabeth believed the Word of the Lord about her own pregnancy and now, the divine pregnancy of her cousin, her heart was filled with hope.
In today's post, Part Three, we turn to Luke 1:67-79.
Zechariah's prophecy announces God's promise of hope; the gift of salvation for all people. He begins with praise and glory unto the Lord and concludes with a message for his miracle son, John, the one who will prepare the way of the Lord.
It's been 400 years since this much excitement has infiltrated the hearts of the Jewish people, but now, their hope of a Messiah is rekindled, and soon, the Promise will arrive!
And He did. Just as the angel said.
Then she gave birth to her firstborn Son, and she wrapped him tightly in cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them (Luke 2:7, CSB).
What are you hoping for? Who have you placed your hope in? How confident are you that what you hope for will arrive?
When our hope is in Christ, we will never be disappointed. Hope brings joy. Joy fills us with hope. Don't lose hope, sweet friend. Jesus came the first time to bring us salvation, and He promised He'll return. So, I pray hope and joy will fill your heart, not just at Christmas time, but in all seasons of life.
Joy to the world, the Lord has come, just as He promised, and He's coming again!
Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year!