Christmas—a time of giving, kindness, attention to the homeless or poor, and a season warmed by glowing smiles, jingling holiday music, and balmy Christmas hope. For those of us who have lost loved ones, our laughter and cheer might feel a bit pretend. A sip of hearty peppermint hot chocolate might taste bittersweet.
I do think about my children and grandparents in Heaven at times. I’m sure you think about yours too. But at least for me, Christmas truly does wrap me in a blanket of hope.
Maybe hope is just a habit that we humans have formed around Christmastime. Growing up, we hoped for treats and presents and days off from school so much that those hopes bled over into our adult lives too.
Still, I think it’s more than that. If people all over the world experience Christmas hope under the most awful circumstances, it must come from somewhere else. No other holiday offers more worldwide peace and celebration than Christmas.
Christmas Hope from the Bible
Look up Matthew 1:18-25, part of the Christmas story in the Bible. If you don’t own a Bible, Google the Scripture passage. You can easily find it on the Internet. Meet me back here in a minute after you read through and think about that passage.
As you read through these verses, you probably noticed that it started at the beginning. Jesus hadn’t come into the world yet. An angel came to Mary while she was engaged to Joseph, letting her know that she would give birth to the Savior, the Son of God.
You should understand that Mary and Joseph had probably grown up learning about the prophecies of Jesus. For years, they had known that He would one day come to the world to save it.
“From what?” you might ask. From sin. God in Heaven sent His Son to earth to die. He had to pay the penalty of death for your sins.
Trusting the Unknown
Reading back through this passage now, I think more about Mary’s situation. How wonderful yet scary to mother the perfect Son of God! An angel told her that this baby was Jesus Christ, but Mary had to trust the unknown herself.
“Why me?” she could have asked. Taking responsibility for the Savior would have stressed me out completely. Mary probably knew the prophecies, but could she really tell what would happen? She didn’t know all the details.
On the other hand, she did know that God had planned these events for her life, and she trusted Him. She couldn’t trust her own knowledge or rely on the event itself. But to keep herself submissive and humble, she simply let God do what He does best. God reigned supreme in her mind, and Mary’s plan for her own life melted with God’s plan.
The Hope of Salvation
The first and highest hope that comes from Christmas is Christ’s salvation. Jesus had to experience human life at its fullest, starting out as a baby just as anyone else.
He encountered hunger, thirst, discomfort, and danger. He faced temptation to sin without ever committing the sin. Then, he met his death like every other man meets death. Actually, Jesus’ met a worse death because He took on the sins of the entire world and paid the price for them.
Three days after the people buried Jesus’ body in a tomb, the Savior came back to life. He had overcome sin and death to show how mighty He is and to give us the choice of eternal life with God.
By coming into the world and paying the price for sin, Jesus gave hope to the world. If you simply believe in Him, trusting God to take away your sins (Romans 3:10, 23; Romans 6:23; John 3:16), you can be a child of God. You will still sin, but Jesus will cover those sins with His own payment.
If you just accepted Christ as your Savior, whether through this website or through another source, please let me know! I would love to talk with you and answer any questions you might have.
The Hope of God’s Plan
The second Christmas hope that I find in this Scripture is Mary’s trust. Again, she had little idea what would happen to her baby. She might not have thought about the danger her Son might face in this world. She probably didn’t realize that she would have to watch Him die a terrible death on a cross.
Still, Mary trusted God with her life. She could have died too, for all she knew. But she humbly accepted the situation that God placed her in.
Oh, at the time of Jesus’ birth, the situation proved a joyful and beautiful one. She met angels and shepherds and held her precious baby close to her that day. Later, Mary bore all the sorrow of a grieving mother, and God helped her through that trial too.
We can learn a lot from Mary. We experience joy and sorrow throughout our lives, and the mood can vary with every whimsical moment. But we can trust the plan of the God Who knows the end result.
We won’t understand the whys and hows of our situations, but we can know that God does have a plan. In the end, He will get the glory, even through child loss.
I encourage you to really savor the Christmas story this Sunday. Let it give you hope that you can trust the Savior—with your salvation and with the death of your child. May God give you peace on this wonderful Christmas day!
by Sarah George