How do you focus on creating a magical holiday experience for your children, your family, when your teenaged son or daughter is struggling with identity, acting out their confusion and fears? And you, Mom, are taking the brunt of it.
Your parents are getting a divorce, and though you are married with a child of your own, the shredding of their vows is ripping your heart more deeply than you thought possible.
Your brother’s wife has cancer, your friend’s grown son isn’t speaking to his parents, and if you think about the oppression and deception in the world you want to pull a blanket over your head and hide. When I want to run away, and I do at times, I remember David felt the same way, “Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest” (Psalm 55:6). Today, as I write this, I wish for an escape.
Making holidays merry is a woman’s, a mom’s, duty. Right?
No. It’s not.
Messages from movies, music, and images have convinced us women that creating holiday cheer and delight is our job, our responsibility. But fear, loss, and heartache never check our calendars before marching into our lives. Even if life is good right now, we know it can change in an instant.
Our duty is this: to hope in God, to fix our eyes on Him, to drink deeply and daily from His Word.
Hope is the message of the manger.
Not consumerism, holiday cheer, or endless batches of sugar cookies.
Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, Hebrews 11:1 tells us, because God is the God of all hope (Romans 15:13). His eternal being, His forever presence, His accomplished work on the cross, His precious and magnificent promises (2 Peter 1:4) are the basis of our hope.
If you place your hope in making your kids happy this Christmas or being the mom who outgifts all the teachers, or whatever you imagine will bring you praise, you’ve missed the message of the manger. One of my favorite hymns says it best, “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.”
What is the solution to misplaced hope? Daily repentance for placing our hope in anything other than Jesus. As I confess my misplaced hopes and choose His way, I am strengthened and comforted by the Holy Spirit who dwells within me.
The Spirit knows our weakness and because of love, “intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words” (Romans 8:26-27). My heart’s aches are matched, sigh for holy sigh, by the Spirit’s prayers to the Father…for me!
That is the message of both Christmas and Easter. When we look to Jesus, keeping our eyes on Him as our Redeemer and our example for how to live, the despair that threatens to undo us is put in perspective and hope fills our souls.
This hope is strengthened within us by the power of the Holy Spirit, the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead. If He can raise Christ, then He can raise your hope to abound!
May you simplify Christmas this year for the goal of fixing your eyes on Jesus. Cut back on all your lists so you can make room for resting in His hope. Guide your family to experience the wonder of all that Jesus has given us. Maybe even wrap up gifts filled with God’s holy, inspired words to us of all He has given us.
This year, this Christmas, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit,” who dwells within you (Romans 15:13).