I lay my son’s neatly folded Little Drummer Boy costume into a storage bin, most likely to be forgotten in the coming months. Wrapping paper is crammed into bags waiting to go out with next week’s recycling. The fridge is full of leftovers from Christmas dinner. The decorations twinkle happily as if begging me not to put them back into the attic.
The day after Christmas is always strange to me. This season is so longed-for and seems to creep in earlier and earlier every year! And then—poof—it is all over. You might be that person who could leave their tree up until March. Or maybe, you are already preparing for the next season. Regardless of where you fall on the spectrum, we must not lose sight of the Christmas hope that remains after the play is over, the presents opened, the dinner served, and happy memories and traditions made. Here are three ways to hold hope all year long.
Rest and connect. Especially during Christmas, I find myself struggling to be like Mary, who sat at the feet of Jesus basking in his presence (Luke 10:38-42). More often, I am like Martha when I allow the holiday season to cause more stress by running around with all the preparations, decorations, and parties to attend. In the end, I hope you get to stop and experience the joy of simply connecting with loved ones.
As a side note, sometimes the holidays are exceptionally hard for people due to grief or strained relationships. It’s okay to give yourself permission to step away from others and sit at the feet of Jesus. Remember, quality over quantity. It’s not the material possessions or the endless striving that fills up our hearts, but rather finding time to rest and connect. Not only do we need to prioritize this during the holiday season, but all year-round. Let us not forget to be like Mary and take time to “be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). Reconnecting with God, with others, and with ourselves keeps hope alive.
Be generous. We love falling headfirst into the season of giving, but let us not limit our generosity to the holiday season. Generosity allows us to posture our hearts in a position of deep gratitude for a gift we can never earn or repay. I have hope because God sent his son into the world, fully God and fully man, to reclaim the world from sin and restore his children to himself.
In 2 Corinthians, Paul praises the Christians in Macedonia who respond to poverty and persecution with amazing generosity because, “you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake, he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.” (2 Corinthians 8:9) There are many ways to be a joyful giver and perpetuate hope. We tithe and can donate to charities doing good year-round. We can give our time to a friend in need of a listening ear or a hot meal. Intentionally opening our homes shows generosity. When we give back, we spread hope.
Spread joy. Can you imagine what it must have been like to be one of the shepherds to whom the angels appeared? Luke 2:10-11 says, “But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.” Of course, the initial reaction is fear, awe, and wonder. An army of angels appears first before common pastoralists to ignite joy in their hearts. The savior has come for them—for everyone! Hallelujah! The shepherds could not contain their excitement and ran to Bethlehem to go see their King. Upon realizing the incredible news was true, “they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them” (Luke 2:17-18).
My prayer for you is that you may carry the same wonderment and awe of God coming to earth—fully God and fully man—with such a fresh zeal that you cannot help but share the good news for all people. Holding the Christmas hope means spreading the joy of the good news!
What are some other ways you hold the hope year-round? I’d love to hear your ideas!
With love and hope,