At this time of year stores and malls ring with joyful voices singing, “Joy to the world!” and “Tis the season to be jolly!” Flashy advertisements depict families gathered around a groaning table or a twinkling tree stuffed with presents. Churches display a serene, peaceful manger scene with Jesus’ family gathered around Him smiling. Christmas is shown as a joyful time of family togetherness and celebration.
For many people Christmas is exactly that: a happy time of family, fellowship, food, and merry gift giving. Most Christians observe this as a time of added celebration and thanksgiving for the greatest gift ever given, the Lord Jesus Christ, “
God with us” (Matthew 1:23), so the Christmas season is overflowing with joy and celebration.
Christmas can potentially be a time of hopelessness and loneliness.
But for others, Christmas is just the exact opposite. It can be an intense reminder of lost loved ones or that they have no close family to celebrate with. Instead of feeling joy, many people feel overwhelming, seemingly unbearable anxiety and depression. Christmas can potentially be a time of hopelessness and loneliness.
Even though some of us may feel lonely or isolated during the Christmas holidays, it’s important for us to remember the hope that Jesus brings. The Incarnation, God becoming a man, is the very reason why we have hope. Without Jesus, we have no hope and only death to look forward to (1 Thessalonians 4:13–14). But for those of us who are in Christ Jesus, we are no longer hopeless! Scripture says, “
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3). This living hope is the hope and promise of eternal life (Titus 1:2) through Jesus Christ, “
our hope” (1 Timothy 1:1). We have hope because Jesus came as a man, lived, died, and rose again.
In Genesis we read that God originally created a perfect world (Genesis 1:31), but it was soon marred by Adam and Eve’s sin. The consequence for sin was death (Genesis 2:17; Romans 6:23). However, even during the darkest day in history, God offered a message of hope, “
And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel” (Genesis 3:15). God promised that He would send a Savior who would conquer Satan and deal with the problem of death and suffering.
Jesus came in the flesh as a little baby that first Christmas so that He could bear our punishment at the Cross, and then conquer death by rising from the dead. The first man Adam brought death, suffering, and the Curse into the world through his sin, but the last Adam, Jesus Christ, will do away with those things. Someday we can dwell with Him eternally in a place where “
God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4). “
And there shall be no more curse” (Revelation 22:3).
Loneliness and depression will be done away with forever. What a blessed hope for us to eagerly look forward to! But sadly, until then, we have to struggle with the suffering that came into the world because of Adam’s sin and its consequences. Thankfully, even amidst our times of trials and tribulations, we can trust God because “
we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).
Those who have placed their faith in Christ are part of God’s family.
Jesus’ Incarnation, death, and Resurrection also brings believers into God’s family (John 1:12; Romans 8:11–17). Although some of us may not have or may be isolated from our families, those who have placed their faith in Christ are part of God’s family. All around the world we have brothers and sisters in Christ to fellowship with. We find examples of this throughout the New Testament. During the time of Jesus, Gentiles were considered unclean and no Jew would eat or stay with a Gentile (Acts 10:28); yet, in Christ, such barriers were broken down (Ephesians 2:14–17) and Jews and Gentiles could openly fellowship with one another. Indeed, Christians can fellowship together whether they are Jew or Gentile, rich or poor, slave or free, male or female (Galatians 3:28). Examples of this cross-cultural fellowship fill the New Testament such as Peter, a Jew, staying with Cornelius, a Gentile. A modern day example would be the friendship and ministry partnership of Kirk Cameron, an American evangelist, and Ray Comfort, a Christian street preacher from New Zealand. Because of Christ, you are never without family!
Even if we are far away from our brothers and sisters in Christ, we are still never alone. Jesus is right there with us. The Lord promises, “
I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Matthew 28:20; Hebrews 13:5). Jesus came to Earth to be our Immanuel, the “
God with us” promised in the Old Testament (Isaiah 7:14), and He is still with us today (Galatians 2:20). No matter how lonely we may feel, we are never truly alone because Christ dwells in our hearts through faith (Ephesians 3:17).
Someday those who have trusted in Jesus Christ as their Savior will spend eternity with the entire family of God in His very presence! If you have repented and trusted in Christ, then you will be there too! Surely that is the best reason to smile and have a merry Christmas filled with hope this year.