When we think about the Characters we love at Christmas, we often imagine Buddy the Elf, The Grinch, Scrooge, or even Kevin the Carrot! But the first Christmas was full of a different set of characters altogether.
Christmas is a time when Christians remember that Mary, Joseph, The Shepherds, and the Wise men, were very real people dealing with a very real world that had lost its sense of hope. One was a refugee escaping a terrible king who wanted to kill her unborn baby. Another was out in a field with his co-workers when an angel appeared and told them all to go see the new born baby who would bring them new hope.
Every year many people all over the world celebrate Christmas in a way that is meaningful to them. Nowadays this often includes putting up decorations, sharing a meal with others, and exchanging presents kept under a sparkling Christmas tree. Christmas is renowned to be a season of celebration and cheer, but it can also be a really tough time for some people too. It’s a time where loneliness and loss are felt deeply by those who are surrounded by family and friends. when those who don’t have a roof over their head or a warm meal in their stomachs feel that sense or lack more than ever.
Back during Christmas 2020 people around the world had to celebrate in different ways due to the impact of the Global Pandemic. It was an incredibly difficult year for so many. At the time there was a lot of talk about “Christmas being cancelled” which would have seemed a crazy thought to those involved in the very first Christmas. To the Characters of Christmas, the season was not just about sharing presents and eating nice food, but about remembering what brings them hope.
You can cancel a party, but you can never cancel hope.
Hope is an optimistic state of mind that is based on an expectation that things can get better tomorrow no matter how tough they seem today. Why is the original Christmas story considered such a source of hope to so many people around the world today? As Christianity Today explains ‘When Jesus was born over 2000 years ago his birth announced the rescue many people at the time had been longing for. The name ‘Jesus’ literally means ‘to rescue’.’ It was believed that Jesus would come and rescue them from hopelessness.
That’s why it’s so important that we take the inspiration we find in the first Christmas story and help people find hope wherever they are. That first Christmas was a declaration of the good news for everyone. It was hope for shepherds and wise men alike. It was the hope that God hadn’t forgotten about the world he made. If the name Jesus really means rescuer; then Christians believe that we can still be rescued from hopelessness because of that first Christmas time.
And so, in another year where the darkness sometimes feels more overwhelming than the light… Perhaps the greatest gifts we could give and receive this Christmas is hope. You probably have plans to give presents this year; But do you plan to give hope?
Why not try something to help you find hope and share hope this Christmas?