It’s officially the Christmas Season! Twinkling lights, hopes of snow, whiffs of peppermint, ringing bells and exchanges of “Happy Holidays” are everywhere. With the Christmas season comes Advent – a church tradition that leads up to Christmas and celebrates the hope, joy, peace and love found in Jesus’ birth.
Some of you may be struggling to find hope. When things go wrong in your life and become difficult, it can be hard to believe that there’s reason for hope. Especially when the reasons to not have hope seem more prevalent. Maybe you feel like God isn’t right next to you like everyone says He is. Some of you may be having a hard time with your family due to divorce, death or abuse. There are others of you that are frustrated and frightened by what you see on the news. You may be feeling a lack of direction in your academics. Friendships may be tense right now.
In the midst of all this frustration, church may be the last place in the world you want to go. It can feel so unreal to read the story of Jesus’ birth. Mary beheld Gabriel. Joseph had a clear dream. Elizabeth birthed a miracle. The innkeeper observed a desperate need. The wise men witnessed a celestial sign. The Shepherds were covered with angel’s light. God was so evident. He made Himself so clear. So why is God so silent when His entry into the world was anything but silent?
Yet, the story isn’t as glamorous and perfect as it’s often thought to be. One dream and one angel visit probably didn’t continually bring Mary and Joseph comfort when they were looked down upon by society. Elizabeth’s high-priest husband was mute for nine months because he argued with an angel. The innkeeper had to worry about the potential death of a newborn and mother. The wise men had to depend on the ever-changing sky. The Shepherds were probably scoffed at and quickly silenced. Mary and Joseph had to flee to Egypt for years. Herod ordered a massacre. There was still pain when Jesus came, but because He was present, there was reason for hope. A promise had been fulfilled; the start of God’s amazing plan had just begun.
The Christmas season may be really difficult for you, and so it’s hard to find hope and to even enjoy the Christmas season at all. It may be hard to believe, but you have reason to hope. Jesus has been making good out of the hardships of life ever since He came to earth 2,000 years ago. The story of His birth is an example that even in the bleakest of time, there’s hope in Jesus.
We want to encourage you that there’s reason for hope. We would love to encourage you during this Christmas season. Don’t hesitate to Tweet us @niNeMag with #9encourage with a need of encouragement, and we will tweet you back! Or if you want to speak to us privately, you can message us on Facebook or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We pray that God gives you a glimmer of hope in the midst of your hardship this Christmas and all year.