Dena Johnson Martin Christian Blog and Commentary

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Jesus Our Hope

It’s Christmas morning, and the house is so quiet. Here I sit in the light of the Christmas tree, soaking in a rare minute of solitude as I wait for the house to come alive. Gone are the days of the kids waking up before dawn in anticipation of what the day will bring, running into my room and begging me to get out of bed so they can see what is in the packages that have been taunting them for weeks.

This early Christmas morning is just me and my Zoe, my puppy I got for an early Christmas last year. I get a quiet moment to contemplate what Christmas means, something I have been longing to do in the hustle and bustle of life and this season.

So what is Christmas? What is the birth of our Savior on that day so long ago?

In one simple word, Christmas is HOPE!

He is our hope in times of trouble. He is our hope when our hearts are broken. He is our hope when it seems all is lost. He is our hope regardless of what life throws at us.

I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13

I don’t know where you are today, but I do know what it is to be broken, to feel as if I have nothing and life will never be the same. I know what it is to be lost and hurting, to feel the pain of brokenness on Christmas morning…whether from having no money or from having to send your kids to another home and being away from them on special days. I know what it is to fear tomorrow, to wonder if you will ever feel healed and whole.

But I also know the God who is hope embodied in a tiny baby lying in a manger. I pray this beautiful Christmas day you will grasp that hope as well.

He is hope that beauty will come from brokenness. I was talking with one of Blake’s friends this week, and he was telling us about growing up in a home of seven kids. There was a time when his dad was out of work and they didn’t know where their next meal would come from. He said it was “fun.” He quickly paused and said, “Well, it wasn’t fun but…” I quickly added that on this end, it’s fun to look back and see all the ways God provided.

In the midst of the pain, fun is not the word any of us would use. Brokenness is hard. It’s scary. It’s the unknown that gets us every time. But we have to remember the brokenness is only a season. God is behind the scenes working, even if we can’t see His hand. It’s fun when you get to the other side and suddenly you can see what God was doing, how He was working in your midst. You get to connect the dots and see the full picture. And then you look back and use words like fun to describe the journey.

When you get to the other side, there’s this beauty. The wounds fade into scars that are barely visible, but they are reminders of where you have been and how God has pulled you through. You finally get to see the beauty of this broken life.

Never give up the hope of Christ on your journey. He will turn your ashes into something beautiful

To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for his own glory. Isaiah 61:3

He is our hope that dreams will be fulfilled in ways we never thought possible. I have dreams. I have always had dreams. My dreams have grown over the years. Many days my dreams are overwhelming and I long to be able to just walk away and pour myself into fulfilling my dreams.

The truth is these dreams aren’t mine…they are God’s dreams planted inside me. I keep plugging away, attempting to faithfully do my part and trusting God to do His. I don’t really know what it will all look like when He’s finished, but I know it will be far greater than anything I could do on my own.

He is my hope—my only hope—that my dreams will be fulfilled. But He’s also my hope that it will be far greater than anything I could imagine. His promise keeps my hope alive, gives me reason to keep moving forward.

Never lose sight of your dream, because He is our dream giver and our dream fulfiller.

Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Ephesians 3:20

He is our hope for being reunited. Many of us are grieving. The holidays often serve as a reminder of those we have lost. My Grandpa Murvle died on Christmas Eve sixteen years ago. There’s always a hole on Christmas Eve as we remember this funny man who loved us fiercely. Roy and my kids are all grieving the loss of their dads. There’s always an empty seat at the table, a reminder of those who are no longer with us.

But we rejoice that they are with our Father. The morning my Grandpa died, Blake was so disturbed that Grandpa was going to miss Christmas. I wrapped up his four-year-old self and gave him a big hug, reminding him that Papa Murvle was having the biggest Christmas celebration ever in the presence of Jesus.

And that’s what we all must remember. Here on earth, we celebrate the birth of Jesus. But our loved ones who have gone before us? They, like the shepherds and wise men, get to sit at the feet of Jesus! They get to bow down in worship! They are celebrating a Christmas like no other!

One day we will join them, bowing in worship on Christmas morning, celebrating our Savior together. What hope!

He is our hope that there’s always more to come. Never forget that. This life can be hard, but God promises repeatedly He is greater. He overcomes. We have to cling to Him, to this hope. We must make Him our heart’s desire. If we keep our hope in Him, we can be assured there’s still more to the story.

Death doesn’t end the story. Divorce doesn’t end the story. Nothing ends the story. Because we have Jesus, our hope that there’s more to come.

Think about Jesus. When he was nailed to that cross, the disciples thought the story was over, that they had been misled by the One they had followed faithfully. I can only imagine their thoughts, their actions, as their Jesus lay in a tomb, dead and gone. Those three days must have been excruciating as they wondered what had just happened.

But then came Sunday. That became the day they realized the story wasn’t over, there was still more to come. The resurrection changed everything!

And the resurrection changes everything for us as well. It’s a reminder that the story isn’t over, that there is still more to come. Death doesn’t end the story. Divorce doesn’t end the story. Don’t let Satan steal your hope in the times of pain and loss. Remember the resurrection, the hope that there’s more to come.

I pray today you get to celebrate the Savior, the hope of the world. I pray you remember He is your hope…always and forever.

Merry Christmas!

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