And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.” Luke 2:8-10 (NIV)
Discouragement in this season is specifically addressed by God at the first Christmas. Even in Bible times, discouragement and despair were present. But God! Through the birth of Jesus, God had a plan to bring hope to the world. Not hope as the world gives, but a hope that lasts forever.
The world offers poor substitutes for hope: Wishful thinking (wishing things into or out of existence), Blind Optimism (that bad is a concept, evil does not exist—being positive but not very realistic) and even Ambitious Dreams (lofty goals, good plans, but circumstances beyond our control can certainly set us back).
Most people consider hope as something they do. The Bible talks about hope as something we can have. Christians have hope that God will do what God says He will do. God has the power to keep His promises to us. Christians have a confident expectation of God.
Dear God, Thank You for understanding how difficult this season can be. There are so many demands on our time, money, and emotions this time of year. You had a plan for our hope through Jesus Christ. Thank You for the good news that brings great joy for all people. Help us plug into the hope we have in Christ. Help us to point others to this hope in Jesus that is for all people. In Christ’s name, Amen.