During Christmas we hear a lot about hope. I hope I get this ... I hope I DON'T get that ... I hope for a better new year ... I hope, I hope, I hope. What do you hope for?

I think that's the wrong question.

I don't think it's so much what you hope "for" that's important; I think it's what you put your hope "IN."

What you put your hope IN will dictate what you hope FOR.

Think about Christmas for a minute. The Jewish people were waiting for a messiah. After 400 years of silence from God they were, in fact, longing for someone to save them. They wanted help. They wanted answers. They wanted freedom. They were crying out for God to deliver them. They HOPED for something better. I may be reading between the lines a little bit, but when Jesus arrived that silent night in Bethlehem ... when God sent a Deliverer - THE Messiah - people were disappointed. Why? Because He wasn't what they had hoped for. They had hoped for a warrior, a leader, a revolutionary. They hoped for temporary, earthly, immediate results. But what God sent them was better. Unfortunately, they had shifted their hope.

They no longer placed their hope IN God, they hoped FOR something else.

You see, when your hope is IN Jesus, what you hope for changes.

"And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us. 24 We were given this hope when we were saved. (If we already have something, we don’t need to hopefor it. 25 But if we look forward to something we don’t yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently.)"- Romans 8:23-25

See, when our hope is IN Christ, we hope for greater things. We hope for eternal things. Our hope is a full, lasting hope, not an empty, false hope. And that hope leads to so much more:

"We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love."- Romans 5:3-5

This Christmas, celebrate a different kind of hope. Celebrate a hope that is everlasting, and life changing. A hope that will not lead to disappointment.

This Christmas, celebrate hope in the name of Emmanuel, God with Us.

This Christmas, celebrate the hope of Christ.