Christmas is over. Most of us will be putting away our Christmas decorations and getting geared up for New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. We are trying to get refocused and re-energized for 2021. Some of us may be dealing with the post-holiday blues, and some may be completely overwhelmed with the thought of starting another new year with nothing really looking that different from the heaviness of 2020.
One of the things I love about after Christmas is that, as much as we all love Christmas, the real heart of the Christmas story is what happens after Christmas. The Christmas story of the birth of Jesus isn’t just a nice, little story we tell at Christmas-time, and then say, “Isn’t that nice? Wasn’t this a great Christmas?” and move on with life as usual. That is the opposite of what the true Christmas story is all about!
If we truly believe what we celebrate and talk about at Christmas—that Jesus is the hope that makes a weary world rejoice—then that means that Christmas is not over; it’s the introduction to the story of the meaning of life!
The whole point of the Christmas story is that we can now live out the rest of the story. This new year can be a year of fulfilled hope, because a thrill of hope was realized in Jesus! If we’ve opened the gift of Jesus, we don’t just put it back in the box and walk away.
Isaiah the prophet tells us of what happened as a result of this hope being fulfilled. “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn” (Isaiah 61:1-2, ESV).
What does it look like to have the hope of Christ fulfilled in your life? First, If you are looking for the fulfillment of your hope in anything other than Jesus, you will be sorely disappointed. Scripture attests to this fact. Life attests to this fact: money, education, careers, even marriage and family. If we try to fill the hole in our hearts with anything other than a relationship with Jesus Christ, we will never be fulfilled.
This is about your personal decision to place your hope in Jesus Christ as your Reedemer. Whatever you’re facing in life right now, you can know that Jesus is your help, your hope, your healing. Some might remember the old hymn that says, “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame but wholly lean on Jesus' name. On Christ, the solid rock, I stand. All other ground is sinking sand. All other ground is sinking sand.”
And once we receive this hope fulfilled in Jesus, we then can join Him in sharing this hope to the world—to our neighbors, coworkers, fellow students, friends, family members. Live with hope in order to bring hope to others. Don’t fritter away your gifts, resources, talents, education, skills, personality, who you truly are, on the gray drivel of inconsequentiality. The Apostle Paul wrote, “For what I received I passed on to you” (1 Corinthians 15:3, ESV).
Christmas is not over. What will it look like in 2021 to have the hope of Christ fulfilled in your life?