“[B]ut in your hearts sanctify Christ as Lord. Always be ready to make your defense to anyone who demands from you an accounting for the hope that is in you.’'– 1 Peter 3:15
The mere mention of “Christmas” conjures up sights, sounds and even smells unique to this season. A community Christmas tree or the always-present manger on your neighbor’s lawn triggers a kaleidoscope of scenes that spill from one to another. “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” chimed out from a downtown church tower and the smell of fresh gingerbread swell the magical mood – stirring hearts toward hopefulness.
Sadly, for some, this high spirit of December is dampened and darkened. Perhaps the passing of a loved one, struggling relationships, disappointing finances, or an overwhelming sense of aloneness even in the midst of the Christmas crowds crush our ability to celebrate.
At such times, Christ followers must model the hope of God’s grace – and this is never truer than as we remember the Messiah’s first coming and live in anticipation of His return. Peter’s first letter is all about the hope we find in God’s grace. As we read it we are reminded of the security we have in being “born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus” (1:3), and we hear the call to “set your hope fully on the grace” we find in Jesus (1:13).
Reading on, we learn that others can find hope through our example as His grace leads us to live in submissive service – to God and to each other (2:21; 5:3). Moreover, in 3:15, Peter urges that “if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it.”
In I Timothy 1:1, Paul personified this hope: “Jesus Christ, who is our hope.” He is the hope for the holidays and for all times. Are you ready to explain your hope?
Burkesville First UMC
South Central District