"And in another place Isaiah said, “The heir to David’s throne will come, and he will rule over the Gentiles. They will place their hope on him.” 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 15:12, 13
I've been reading over these verses and I am totally overwhelmed by the difference in the hope that we have and the hope that is so lacking in our world today. Three things have touched my heart recently. The first came while talking to a good friend this week. A relative of hers passed away recently, and his wife has really struggled to come to terms with his passing. This week she cried out for help, needing someone to fill the whole left by her husband, not yet realising that only God will be able to fill her heart. She just felt hopeless, now that her beloved had gone.
The second came as our town Christmas tree lights were turned on. I watched from my car as groups of young people (from about 12 years old and up) decanted alcohol into Pepsi and Sprite bottles and just cringed at the way young girls were dressing and portraying themselves around our town centre (and not just because I am getting old!). To me, as an onlooker, their lives looked hope-less. Life has changed so much that we are growing a generation that has no hope. No hope of jobs, no hope of freedom, and where they are growing up thinking that going onto benefits and just existing is the best they can be. It broke my heart tonight. I don't think I realised exactly how hope-less our own town has even become.
And the third came when another friend talked to me about a relative who is in hospital at the moment, suffering from addiction and depression. His life is totally without hope and he has nothing to look forward to... So, as far as he is concerned, what is the point?
I have been living in a bubble. I am so guilty of not seeing whats really going on around me, and just making sure me and mine are ok... I am reminded so much of the chorus in the Casting Crowns song 'Does Anybody Hear Her?'
"Under the shadow of our steeple
With all the lost and lonely people
Searching for the hope that's tucked away in you and me
Does anybody hear her? Can anybody see?"
I love this song so much... I think it hits how sometimes we can be so totally caught up in church and in doing things RIGHT and in slightly looking down at others who don't fit into our circles, that we completely miss the message of the gospel and the people who are right under our noses who need our help. We miss the people who are seeking the one thing that will make them feel complete (yes - that's from a Westlife song) and yet we have that hope deep in our hearts. We need to get out and tell people, show people through our love and compassion and truly turn people's attention back to Christ this Christmas.
We have the hope - let's get out there and share it!! Imagine how different each of my situations would look if they had the hope of Christ in their hearts, and Is light to guide their way.
This December I will be hoping to challenge you to get out and share the hope, the love and the compassion that God has gifted us with, to bring His love and His gift of salvation to the people right under our noses and down our streets. I hope you will join me to really keep Christ in Christmas.