We know that 2023 has been a very difficult year for so many of our friends, neighbors and those around the world
By Dave Donaldson
This article first appeared on Fox News
Here’s an Advent riddle for you: Name something every single human being on Planet Earth desperately needs every day, but probably doesn’t know it!
Air perhaps? Or water?
I’m thinking of a must-have spiritual resource without which nothing else may do you much good – hope.
Now I realize 2023 has been a tough year. I know a lot of folks feel their reserves of hope have just about run dry. Price hikes, terror attacks, wars and rumors of war – you name it and it’s probably happened.
Let’s face it: For some of our friends and neighbors, hope is in short supply.
Whatever you may be facing this Christmas, whatever adversity the world may cast your way, know that hope is never out of reach.
The dedicated folks I’m blessed to work with within CityServe’s collaborative network know all about this. They see it first-hand every time they say goodbye to their families and travel thousands of miles to lend a helping hand to those in need.
Helping people in their hour of greatest need has taught us a priceless lesson, one I feel led to share with you this Advent season as we prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.
Experience teaches us that before those who’ve lost everything can move forward, their lost hope must be restored. We’ve learned that you have to have hope.
Right now, a person who’s lost all hope is probably reading these words. And if that’s you… read on!
Maybe you’re struggling with the Holiday blues. Maybe you recently lost a loved one or are experiencing health problems. There have been plenty of financial setbacks as well.
You’re not alone! My colleagues and I at CityServe have met many folks in that very same situation. It’s what we do. And based on that experience, we know there really is a way out of the deepest, darkest, most hopeless situations. We see it all the time.
So to anyone who feels the Hope Express has pulled out of the station and left them far behind, let me share a word of encouragement: Hang on! Hope is coming my friend. Help is on the way.
How can I be so sure?
Well, even if you’re not particularly religious, just indulge me and look up Romans 15:13. You’ll find it on your smart phone. It reads: “Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Wow, think about that! The Creator of heaven and earth is called “the God of hope!” Sounds like hope is pretty essential.
In fact, later we read that hope is one of only three things that stand the test of time: “Faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”
In our ministry, it’s something we observe every time. Before someone can really recover and begin to move forward again, there’s something you must restore: Hope.
Whether it’s the residents of Lahaina on Maui whose entire neighborhoods were burned to the ground by the firestorms; or the Ukrainian moms we saw carrying infants, staggering from exhaustion as they fled across the border into Poland; or the residents of the Ein Habesor settlement in Israel who fended off Hamas only to see their crops withering on the vine amidst the war, there’s always one thing we know they’ll need.
We all need hope. Hope that we’re loved. Hope that we matter. Hope for a brighter tomorrow.
Let me share what happens when you hand someone a food box or give them the keys to a safehouse apartment that their refugee family needs to survive … you see the light of hope suddenly return to someone who felt they’d lost hope forever.
See that just once and I assure you, you’ll never again doubt that everyone must have hope.
It’s the spirit Longfellow spoke of when he wrote:
“Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good will to men.”
Now I don’t know about you, but I believe that’s a hope worth holding onto!
You know some 2,000 years ago, that gift of hope arrived for all who would accept it. It came with the birth of the baby Jesus.
“Fear not,” the angel in Bethlehem declared, “for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.”
And with those words, God’s gift of hope entered the world.
So whatever you may be facing this Christmas, whatever adversity the world may cast your way … know in your heart that hope will indeed endure.
He has overcome the world!