God’s Word says, “If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied,” (1 Cor. 15:19).
If in Christmas we have hope in this life only – we’re doomed.
If I only have Christmas, then I have no hope.
January is coming.
If all I can do is sing along with Nat King Cole, “Chesnuts roasting on an open fire,” then I have no hope. Why not? Because Nat King Cole can’t sing about what happened to baby Jesus. He can’t sing about his sinless life, his crucifixion, his death and burial, and especially – Jesus’ resurrection. This is why you and I need more than sentimental Christmas songs. Don’t get me wrong – I love listening to these songs over and over every Christmas. But they’re not my hope. I’ll explain.
As I get older I miss my parents more and more. I miss my large family too – on both sides. On my mom’s side, I have 16 first cousins and on my dad’s side I have 26. I could have more – I am from WV, so you never know. Anyway, as my family gets older, and more die (I don’t mean to be morbid – it’s just true), I feel the loss of connection with the past. I want time to stop. I want to put Christmas lights up with my mom. I want to see my mom and dad as I see them in my mind – 1972 (I was born in ’64), when we went to visit grandma White and great-grandma Sears in a shack stuck between a railroad track and a river (my dad’s side), and then grandma and grandpa Hall (my mom’s side) and help shovel coal from the bin; I can still smell the coal burning and feel the warmth of that old stove. And yes, chesnuts roasting, good food, a little rough-housing with cousins, and lots of laughter. I miss this all very much.
But I can’t simply put a nostalgic cd in, reminisce, cry – and make it all come back, singing, “here we are as in olden days, happy golden days of yore.” But this is all that you and I have, if, Christ is only a Christmas Hope. Baby Jesus is not enough for me and you. We need more hope than what Christ can only do on this side of the grave. We need a hope that goes beyond the aging years of time. We need Christ Jesus – the Risen Lord, who defeated our greatest enemy – death and separation from God and all that is lovely.
Enjoy Nat King Cole this Christmas, but remember, come Easter, he’ll not sing with joy that the baby Jesus was Raised from the dead for your justification – your right standing with God as you have put faith in the work of Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And if you can’t sing for joy this coming Easter, but yet celebrate the birth of Christ – then you are of all people most to be pitied; you’re hope in Christ is only in this life. Dear family, friend, reader, put your hope in the Risen Christ this Christmas and if you do, your hope will outlast all your loss.