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By Jesse Utz 

My hope for Christmas is that you would find yours

Jess, shut up!

 


A young child cannot sleep the night before Christmas. Visions of the toys that will be there, the stockings overflowing with goodies, and the mouthwatering feast all keep a young mind from drifting off. Also, the thought of the little fat man in the red coat delivering something special and eating the cookies left for him, and the child’s desire of catching a glimpse of the mythical being add to the sleeping dilemma. These hopes and ideas are as pure as the freshly fallen snow when we are young.

As we grow older, some of these hopes fall away. It is caused by a variety of events in our lives, and, sadly, some of our hopes disappear like a dream into the cold, dark night. Stress of finances, marriage problems, worldly views and health problems all play their part as we mature and try to maintain some sense of reality in our adult lives. But there is a problem when hope fades away.

So, this column is an awaken-your-hope column. It was not long ago that my hope in things was shaken. Sifted, one might say, and in that violent sifting something happened. My hope was revealed, buried under the rubble of what I thought was important. The things that I clung to as who I was and what was important crumbled down, and I was left with the only one thing left: hope.

Now, I could have put that hope into many things. I could have settled on what had happened and just lived with that plain and simple, but something was stirred within me. I knew there was something more for me, and this hope was mine to cultivate and learn just how powerful the smallest bit of hope can be when placed in the right spot.

Many years ago, a child was born. A star designated this special birth. Wise men followed it, shepherds responded to their visit from heavenly beings, animals knew the specialness of this life, and Mary and Joseph obeyed. This same child would grow up and save the world, just like it was predicted. Not in the way many scholars thought it should go but, in a way, to save us all, to give us all hope again. A child that came to earth died to save us from our own deserved punishment and rose again, now a living king. Not a king waiting for us to die to see us, but a king that walks and talks with us and still performs miracles.

Hope is overused in today’s day-to-day life. But I have experienced some true hope in the last year that makes me realize what hope should look and feel like. I have felt the kick of a baby in the womb; I have seen and felt hurting people be healed right before me; I have seen those that seemed unlovable transform into the loved; I have seen eyes opened to God’s creation around them. I have seen kids we thought only cared for themselves reach out to each other in love and lift each other up. Hope is alive and well. My question to you is, where is yours? Are you cultivating hope in your little corner of life?

My hope for Christmas is that you would find yours. That your hope would grow out of a manger, climb up a cross, disappear in a tomb, only to rise in you like never before. There is a power in each of us; a spirit man, woman or child that is aching to be released. Release that hope this Christmas on others. This world would look a lot different if we saw that hope in our neighbors, in our friends and in our communities. But it all starts with you.

Hope for Christmas that carries over into the new year, that changes a world. That is my hope this Christmas. Merry Christmas to you all, and Happy Birthday to our living King. Jesus is the reason, for the season and for being here at all.

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