December 17 I Friday
“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in His holy people.” —Ephesians 1:18
In the New Testament, the biblical concept of “hope” in the Greek is elpis, which means, “expectation, trust, confidence.” Writers of the New Testament always centered the word elpis on the person and the finished work of Jesus Christ. The word elpis is used about 48 times in the New Testament, often referring to the joyful expectation of the believer. For example, Peter tells us, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3).
Some of us may be going through painful things, and during this Christmas season, we are trying hard to hold on to hope. But did we realize that if we have placed our faith in Christ, while we are trying to hold on to hope, that hope is in fact holding on to us? Jesus carries us when we are weak. He sees our present circumstances and we can rest assured that His past faithfulness to us is a reminder that He will carry us through whatever circumstances we find ourselves in.
Before the pandemic, I remember standing in the mall during the Christmas season, watching people burdened as they carried gifts and all their items, desperately seeking for hope, purpose or meaning. I can see the Hope of this world crying out to all mankind this Christmas saying, “Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30). Jesus Christ is not only inviting us into a relationship with Him, but also giving us a living hope, a hope that is secure because it is rooted in Him. It is a hope that is certain because it is resting in Him.
Jesus is the hope that has come into this world. When our hope is rooted in Christ, we are secure, because His past faithfulness provides us the confidence even when present circumstances may be difficult.
Biblical hope is not wishful thinking or sentimental feeling that something may or may not happen. It is rooted in and rests on the confidence of God’s faithfulness expressed in the person of Jesus Christ—that is the believer’s hope and it is eternal. May we find joy this season as we celebrate the first coming of our Lord that brought us living hope, and rest in the sure hope of His second coming.
Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, thank You for being the hope of this world. Even though this Christmas season may be particularly difficult for me, I am grateful to find rest in You from all the burdens that I have been carrying.