Peace. Hope. Joy.
Those are the catchwords of the Christmas season. During this time of year, we hear those words everywhere – on TV, in movies and even on the news. Peace. Hope. Joy.
My question is: How is that working out?
Christmas is a time of peace. Tell that to our soldiers in the Middle East. Tell that to the people of Ferguson, Missouri and Sydney, Australia. Tell that to the married couple who can’t go a day without screaming at each other.
Christmas is a time of hope. Tell that to the young lady whose husband just left her for another woman. Tell that to the guy who just got laid off from the plant. Tell that to grandma who just got diagnosed with cancer.
Christmas is a time of joy. Tell that to the family from my Texas town who will have to spend their first Christmas without five of their children who died in a house fire. Tell that to the family who doesn’t have enough money to pay the electric bill, let alone buy presents for the kids. Tell that to the depressed young lady sitting by herself in her apartment crying all alone.
Peace. Hope. Joy. Those words make great sound bites. By themselves, however, they do us absolutely no good.
But now add the phrase “in Christ” to each.
Peace in Christ. Jesus was born to heal our broken relationship with God. Because of him we have peace with God. Because of him we have forgiveness and heaven. Those truths give us a peace of heart and mind that the world cannot give – a peace in the middle of the storm. Christmas is a time of peace.
Hope in Christ. The world today seems hopeless: terrorism, family problems, the scourge of cancer. But there is hope in Christ. Because of him, we have the sure hope of heaven – the sure hope of a future free of all sickness and pain and heartache. We have the sure hope that while we are left here on earth, God will make all the bad stuff work for our good. Christmas is a time of hope.
Joy in Christ. For many the Christmas season is the most depressing time of the year. Did you know that there are more suicides during the Christmas season than any other time of the year? How can we sing “Joy to the World” without grandpa? How can we sing “Joy to the World” when our marriage is falling apart? How can we sing “Joy to the World” when we don’t have any money?
Because we know that grandpa believed in Jesus and is now waiting for us in heaven. Because we know that all the dumb and filthy junk of our past has been washed away in Jesus’ blood. Because we know that God will always be with us – even when we feel most alone. For those and many other reasons, Christmas is a time of joy.
Christmas without Christ is a series of empty sound bites. With Christ, however, Christmas is a time of true peace, hope and joy. Tell that to everyone you can.