Hoped For…

Written by Ashley Cooper

Have you bought all your gifts yet? I imagine that more of our Christmas shopping will be done online this year than any other year. The internet is amazing, but I do miss going round the stores searching for that perfect gift. And when it’s for someone really special, we take time to make it perfect. Take time to wrap it so the wrapping is a work of art in itself, put the bow on top and then lovingly hand it to that special person and watch their face as this gift given in love is unwrapped and enjoyed.

I guess when God gives his Christmas present to us it is much the same. The gift is thought about carefully for a long time; prepared for, hoped for, lovingly put together. About 700 years before the first Christmas, the prophet Isaiah expresses that hope and longing, describing all that is wrapped up in this gift of God for us. This gift needs to be, Isaiah says, a ‘wonderful counsellor, a mighty God, an everlasting father, a prince of peace’. All these things wrapped up in a tiny bundle and lovingly given.

And all the world needs, longs for, hopes for, is found in this one small gift found in a stable at Bethlehem. As the carol says, ‘the hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight’.

Christmas 2020 may look very different for all of us – but the one thing that remains true is that each of us, wherever we find ourselves, needs hope. And, since that first Christmas, hope has a name, and that name is Jesus.

There is always hope because our Creator is alive and well. He rules and reigns. While we may suffer and struggle for a season, his purposes will prevail.

There is always hope because Immanuel, God with us, is right here beside us now, and he promises to never leave us.

There is always hope because Jesus is coming again. He will reign forever in peace. All of our tears will be wiped away.

Whether your Christmas is busy and full of people or spent quietly alone or with one or two others, may you know the hope of Jesus anew this year.

Ashley Cooper is the Principal of Cliff College, Derbyshire

This post is part of an advent series. Twenty-Four diverse voices have been invited to share some thoughts on one of four themes (Hope, Peace, Joy and Love) each day during the season of Advent. Each contributor has been given just one theme and no further parameters – they may write as much or as little in the style of their own choosing.

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