People need hope. Hope sustains. Hope gives us a reason to get up and try again. Hope enables us to endure and overcome.
A number of years ago researchers performed an experiment to see the effect hope has on those undergoing hardship. Two sets of laboratory rats were placed in separate tubs of water. The researchers left one set in the water and found that within an hour they had all drowned. The other rats were periodically lifted out of the water and then returned. When that happened, the second set of rats swam for over 24 hours. Why? Not because they were given a rest, but because they suddenly had hope! Hope is a powerful force.
People hunger for hope. In a world full of injustice, violence, crime, deceit, wars and the threats of war, we are looking for something that transcends the world around us. We are looking for something that lifts us up, a light that shines in the darkness.
That is what Christmas is about. Isaiah prophesied that “the people in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the valley of the shadow of death a light has shown” (Isaiah 9:2). John wrote about Jesus, “In him was life, and that life was the light of men” (John 1:4). Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12).
Here’s the thing about hope that we must get this Christmas season. Hope is not wishing. Hope is the confident assurance that what is promised will come to pass. Just as the promises of the coming Jesus were all fulfilled, the promises of Jesus to save those who believe in Him are just as certain. The hope we have in Jesus is a hope that will never disappoint.