Hope is an amazing thing. It's the confident assurance that things are going to be different, that good is going to win, that things can chance. It's the belief that God is who He says He is, that He's doing what He says He's doing, that He loves the way He says He loves. Hope is optimism, but it's so much more than that - because it's not a pipe dream. It's not naive. It doesn't believe just because it fears what happens if it doesn't; it believes because it knows.
And Christmas is a story of hope.
It's what we all want it to be, right? A promise that better days are ahead. A reminder that there is still good in this world. An assurance that God is who He says He is, that He's doing what He says He's doing. That He loves the way He says He loves. Christmas is the hope that there is a God. And not just that there is a God, but that there is a way.
That's the hope of Christmas for me. It's the proof that we need that there is a way between God and man. There's an opportunity to cross the distance, to close the gap. That there's the chance that this chasm in my soul gets crossed, that something spreads across it that allows me to go from one side to the other. That gets me from here to God.
At Christmas, I know that it's possible that man and God walk together because God Himself came to walk with me.
God crossed that distance. God closed that chasm. God came so that He could be here with me, and that is what gives me hope - a confident assurance - that I really can one day be with Him. It's possible because it happened, because it's happening. Because it happens every time that we make our way to the manger and see God in the very flesh of a little baby laying there, laying in our arms, taking in our air, crying out in our breath.
Christmas is hope because it reminds me that it's possible that one day, God will cross that chasm again and bring me back with Him so that I can see His glory, so that I can live in His glory, so that I can take in His air and His breath, crying out in praise to Him. Not only is it possible that one day God will do this (because He already has), but it's a promise.
So was Christmas.
Jesus was promised from a long, long time ago. He's the One that the people of God kept looking forward to, the One they kept looking for. He's the embodiment of everything that God said was going to be true one day about the relationship between Him and His people. And He's here. It's Christmas, and Jesus is here.
And the deliverance of God on this promise gives me confident assurance - a certain hope - in the next one. If God can do this, if God can cross this distance and deliver on this promise, and what's more, if God does cross this distance and deliver on this promise, then who am I to believe He wouldn't do it again? Who am I to think His next promise would be the one that fails?
I look into the eyes of that baby lying in that manger, and all of the fears, the hesitations, the doubts that I have just melt away. I know they're unfounded. I know they have to be.
Just look at Him.