The Gifts of Christmas


What is hope? Conventional wisdom says hope is desiring some good thing in the future without any good reason to believe it will actually happen. It's more like wishful thinking or crossing your fingers.

Here’s the Biblical definition of hope: Hope is the confident expectation that God will, in time or eternity, redeem every circumstance in your life.

3 Ways Hope is Fulfilled

  1. Hope can be fulfilled when you experience a change in your circumstances in exactly the way you desire them to happen. When we hear the word hope, our minds go to what we want God to do, what we need, what we're lacking, what we're afraid of, and what we're facing.
  2. Sometimes our hopes are fulfilled exactly the way we want them. On other occasions, though, our hopes can be filled by having circumstances change in a way that we don't expect them.
  3. Hope can be fulfilled by a change in our ability to thrive when our circumstances remain unchanged. One of my favorite passages of Scripture is found in Isaiah Chapter 40. Isaiah's writing to the people who are in exile in Babylon. They have been taken forcibly from their home, from everyone and everything that they love, and they're having to now make their way in a strange and hostile world.

    Isaiah 40: 30-33 “Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall, But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” (NKJV) Sometimes hope is fulfilled by giving us the strength to work and walk through those circumstances.

2 Keys to Understanding Hope

  1. The key to receiving what you hope for is what you hope in. In the book of Psalms alone, on 15 occasions, the writer says, Put your hope in the Lord.Hoping in the Lord is to hope in God's character. That is how He has revealed himself, and what He has done in history.

    Psalm 130:7 is a beautiful description of this, “Oh, Israel hope in the Lord. For with the Lord, there is unfailing love.” That is His character. His redemption overflows. He is a specialist when it comes to forgiving and restoring and renewing and bringing good things out of bad.
  1. We experience God's hope in the resurrection of Jesus. 1 Peter 1:3, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and His great mercy has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” The Apostle Paul would go on to write that Jesus' resurrection is the first fruit of more resurrection.

    What Jesus demonstrates for us is that the worst possible thing that can happen to you and me, our death, can even be redeemed. Our life can be given back to us again, and we have new hope. It is the confident expectation that in time it will happen. But sometimes you have to wait for it or in eternity.

Develop Your Hope Muscle

Hope is a spiritual muscle that actually can be developed. In Romans 5, the apostle Paul writes what many writers have called the Circle of Hope. We can rejoice when we run into problems and trials. We know that they help us develop endurance and endurance, develops strength of character and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. This hope will not lead to disappointment, for we know how dearly God loves us. Remember, that's his character. His unfailing love is always at work for our well-being because he has given us a Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with His love.
Paul is saying that problems and trials actually create the resistance that is needed for our ability to persevere and grow. When we persevere through trials and difficulties, hoping in God and he comes through and fulfills that hope, it strengthens our spiritual character. As our spiritual character is strengthened, whenever we face more difficulties and more problems, we can be even more confident that we can expect God to redeem our circumstances.

Hope Is A Gift For Every Season Of Our Lives

The last part of Isaiah 40:31 says this, “They will soar on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. And they will walk and not be faint.”

You may be in a heavy season right now. The weight of disappointment, the weight of resistance begins to truly press you to the point where you even wonder about your ability to go on. This season may have begun with the death of a loved one. Or simply opposition at work or depression or a failure in some sense. It is in seasons like this when we hope in the Lord. He's going to enable us to keep walking and not faint. We need to hold on to hope. Otherwise, we will be fainting. Hope is not only worth holding on to because it is exactly why we needed every season, hope is also the gift that helps you keep on living.

We've come through a period when there's been more despair sprinkled through our culture than I remember in all of my life. We shouldn't be surprised that followers of Jesus experience great moments of despair.Despair is that profound sense of hopelessness, that there is no optimism left. It is only pessimism when we think about our future. When you get so deep in despair, that is when you are in danger of believing the great lie of despair; “Hey, it's always going to be this way. It will never change,” When you believe that lie, that is when you are highly susceptible to making poor decisions, for making tragic decisions in your life. That's why it's so important for us to hold on to hope, even in those darkest moments.

Next Steps

I want to encourage you right now, wherever you are, to take just a few moments and bow your head and think about your hopes. What are you hoping for right now? What do you need so desperately? What are you crying on your face for God to do? Tell Him and wait to see how he answers your hope.
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