While driving the other day I glanced at the Christmas gift bag someone had left on my desk at church, which I was now taking home. It was decorated with four squares in Christmas colors and each square was labeled with one of these four words – hope, love, peace, and joy.
The birth of Jesus prompts hope, love, peace, and joy. He brings all four into the world, and to each one of us.
HOPE – A positive expectation of the future is absolutely essential for us to keep on keeping on. The message of Jesus coming into the world means He is with us and with Him with us we can have hope! Paul wrote to the Thessalonian Christians of their “endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thessalonians 1:3)
LOVE – To feel of value to someone is what makes us feel like we’re worth something. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son…” (John 3:16) Change the object of the love expressed in Christ’s coming and make it personal. “For God so loved me, that he gave me His one and only Son…”
PEACE – A sense of well-being is something for which we all yearn. Christ came to give us peace with God, peace with each other, and peace within. The angels announced to the shepherds at Jesus’ birth, “…on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.” (Luke 2:14)
JOY – Gladness about life often seems in short supply. It is, after all, a messed up world. Christ came into this world to make things right! The angel announced to the shepherds at Jesus’ birth, “I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.” (Luke 2:10)
All of us could use all four, but which is your greatest need at this time? Imagine a circle overlaid on this quadrant of words. It covers some of all four squares, but in your imagination position the circle so that it covers most of the square where you feel the greatest need.
Why is that your greatest need now? Focus on the appropriate scriptural words of hope, love, peace, or joy. Ask for a greater measure of this quality of life as a gift from Him. Do you really believe He can give it to you this Christmas? Jesus said, “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” (Mark 11:24)
(Gift bag pictured is the actual bag)