They weep as they go to plant their seed, but they sing as they return with the harvest.
Psalm 126:6 (New Living Translation)
Christmas is a time of hope because at Christmas we celebrate the greatest expression of hope to ever happen - God becoming human. Through the miraculous birth of Jesus, God brought the Hope of the World into our lives.
Christians, of all people in the world, should be hopeful. Hope should be a defining character trait since hope is an essential element of our walk with Jesus Christ. Where thanksgiving flows from the past actions and present workings of Jesus, hope is an expression of joy about the future. Hope says tomorrow will be better than the past or the present.
Confidence in tomorrow is a sure sign of hope’s presence. In this regard, hope is the twin of faith. Concrete expressions of hope are important markers of our faith in the working of Jesus. In Macau we express hope through outreach to those around us. We are always looking for ways and times to share the seeds of the Good News. Why? Because we HOPE that those seeds will find good soil to take root and grow. Hope keeps us going even when we don’t see any immediate return for our labor. We have hope in the ability of the Lord, not ourselves, to take our efforts and multiply them into a harvest of righteousness in due time.
“Cookies at Christmas” is one way we exercise hope in Macau. Each and every box of cookies that we give to restaurants and shops around Macau is a seed that we hope will touch someone’s heart. Through the baking and sharing of Christmas Cookies we proclaim our hope that the Father will use these small gifts to draw someone to His love.
Christmas is a time to renew our hope. We do this by following the example of the Lord and giving to others. We can’t see hope, but we can be hopeful when we sow in faith with confidence in the Lord’s ability to use our efforts to create a better future for us all. May your Christmas and every day be full of hope as you find ways to express your hope in Jesus.
Larry and Sarah Ballew
CBF Field Personnel serving in Macau, China