So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
I love the written word. There is something poetic about a well-written sentence, and one of my favorites comes originally in Greek with the emphasis on three one-syllable words: faith, hope, and love. Even if people don’t believe in Christ, I think it may be because of these three simple words that many still cling to Christmas.
In all honesty, I wasn’t real excited when I saw the date my blog was due. My family will attest that Christmas isn’t my favorite holiday. The busyness, the pressure of gifts, parties, lights and even the increased traffic all make me sympathize with Ebenezer Scrooge. So this blog made me think, what is it that makes me still hope during Christmas season rather than going around telling everyone “bah humbug”? I believe it goes back to that passage in the latter part of 1 Corinthians about faith, hope, and love.
Rather than hope it is often Scrooge, the Christmas cynic, and the secular that battle for my attention this time of year. Secularism tends to focus only on this world. It too has its own faith, hope, and love, and we have certainly seen its fruit in this political cycle. There is faith in one’s self, hope in the material, and love for the salacious. I’m sure we have all tried to find an identity in the “stuff” of this world and come away both empty and unfulfilled. I often feel like the Apostle Peter when he was asked by Jesus if he’d rather leave for the desires of the world. Like him I’ve tried it all, and I have nowhere else to go. Like Peter, my claim is that we have nowhere else to find ultimate hope but in the arms of a baby born 2000 years ago.
Our secular friends have placed their faith in science and certainty. Despite our cultural influence, it is in our struggle with the material, the secular and even cynicism that we still find hope this Christmas. Sometimes when all the things of this world haven’t satisfied, we realize it wasn’t just for this world that we were made. Christmas is our annual reminder that despite the circumstances we find ourselves in there is still a reason to hope. God has not abandoned us; he has not left us to ourselves. The story of Christmas is about faith in God who entered humanity out of an abundant love to give us a future – to give us hope.
So Merry Christmas...Merry Christmas to the lost, the confused, the hopeless. Merry Christmas to those who struggle with faith and have misplaced their hopes. Merry Christmas to the unloved and to those who feel like their cheese is sliding off its cracker. It is for us a Savior was born.