See, a young maiden will conceive. She will give birth to a son and name Him Immanuel, that is, “God with us.” (Isaiah :14 VOICE)
When you are lost, what are you hoping for? You want to be found - you want direction. When you are confused, what are you hoping for? You want answers - you want peace. When you are afraid or anxious, what are you hoping for? You want strength - you want settled assurance. When you are faced with nothing but failure, what are you hoping for? You want something - anything to work out. We are creature of hope - we look for something to be different from the unsettled, difficult, or challenging circumstances we are faced with as life gets tough or the outcomes disappoint us, don't we? To hope is to imagine something different from what it presently is.
At Christmastime, children everywhere gaze in wonder at the brightly wrapped packages under the tree, shaking them when no one is watching, hoping to get some inkling that the thing they most hope for is there. Some gaze at an empty room, no tree with twinkling lights and bright ornaments. Their hope is probably quite different - they fear they have been forgotten - that there will be no Christmas for them this year. I would like to take just a few moments to encourage us to do something this week to meet someone's hope - in some unexpected way, but in a way which will speak deeply into their hearts.
Maybe you could go door to door in a neighborhood where you know very few of your neighbors, asking for just one can of food, an outgrown or unused piece of clothing, or an extra blanket. Then you could take those down to your local shelter to help those who have no home this Christmas, whose tummies are hungering to be filled, who have a job for the first time in quite a long time, but no suitable clothing for the position.
I saw a post recently of people tying warm winter scarves around trees and light poles all over the city with a tiny note indicating these were not "forgotten scarves", but meant for the finder who might need to be warm on a cold winter's night. You could probably find one somewhere in your stash, write that simple note, and start that movement in your own city. It takes one spark to set a forest ablaze - be that spark.
As always, those Christmas Angel trees in shopping centers will be left with lots of unclaimed tags this week - take one or two. The gift doesn't have to be big, nor does it have to be name brand - just make it a gift from your heart. The child's life you change by that one gesture could mean the difference between an empty tree and a day filled with cheer.
Maybe you pay for the person's groceries in line behind or in front of you, purchase a meal for a cop on the beat today, or buy a flower bouquet at your supermarket and then present it to your cashier. That very simple act may be the only thing truly beautiful and selfless they experience this week.
What I am proposing is that we begin to live like we are loved and that we walk in a manner that shows the tremendous freedom we have been given in Christ Jesus. After all, he is the meaning of this season. It isn't the hype of the season we hear the most, but it is the truth of the season nonetheless. Christ is honored in our simple actions of the heart - not in the volume of the gifts, but in the action of the heart behind each one we are able to render. The moment will come this week for you - be ready! Be an instrument of hope to someone - their very life could be changed by your one simple act of love. Just sayin!