Red bird ornament, Haven, KS

The true story of Christmas

Don’t you love Christmas movies? The ones that leave you feeling all warm and fuzzy inside? You know, Christmas movies. Like Die Hard or Lethal Weapon.

I’m only partly joking. But what makes classic Christmas movies so classic? Like A Christmas Carol or It’s a Wonderful Life or other movies from that same vein? The storyteller in me could pick them all apart for hours, but I really think the theme that ties all Christmas movies together is hope. Yes, there are movies about family and forgiveness and selflessness, but if you think about it, the motivation that moves the story along stems from either a lack of hope or a rediscovery of it.

Hope is one of those feel-good fuzzy terms that people throw around a lot, but the tricky part about hope is that if it’s not grounded in something, it’s just a word. It doesn’t mean anything. You can talk about it all day long, but if your hope is only rooted in temporary things, your hope will be temporary.

Red bird ornament, Haven, KS

Red bird ornament, Haven, KS

Today’s verses are 1 Peter 1:3-4.

All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation, and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay.

The true Christmas story is the greatest story ever told, and the point of it was a rescue mission. That’s what Christmas is about. Cute little Baby Jesus, laying in a manger, may look adorable on a Christmas card or as a plastic ornament in your yard, but His purpose was something much less glamorous. He was here to save us by dying for us. He came to die, but in dying, He brought us hope. Not the hollow, foundationless hope culture talks about this time of year. But real hope.

Hope that this life isn’t all there is. Hope that He will never leave us. Hope that He is working to make everything all right, even when it feels like our lives are falling apart. And it’s not just words either. We have hope because He promised, and He always keeps His promises.

Have you met people who have lost hope? Their lives aren’t very bright. Every day is a struggle, and every challenge is too much. And it takes every ounce of their strength just to keep putting one foot in front of the other. Maybe that’s you. The beautiful part of the Christmas story is that hope isn’t lost. It’s never lost. It’s just waiting for you to make up your mind.

We all have hope. It’s just up to us to believe in it–to believe in Him–or not.

If you’re a Christ-follower, you can live with great expectation. That’s what this verse says. You don’t have to settle for an ordinary life; you were born again to the extraordinary. You were born again for an abundant life. You were born again for eternity. And even though this world isn’t our home, we can have joy through the trials and troubles we face today, waiting for the day that Christ promised to come back for us.

Our world is broken. We all face sorrow and sadness and loss and pain. But if you believe in Christ, this world isn’t the end. There’ s a better world on the other side of this one, and that’s where our true citizenship lies.

No matter what impossible thing you’re facing today, you don’t have to face it without hope. That’s the true story of Christmas.