In my family, I’m the designated Santa, with the exception that everyone is old enough to know the truth about his identity. If I just ruined that for you, I’m sorry. As I fight the crowds and sit in traffic, I listened to a lot of Christmas music. We have our favorites, and for me, I still love the classics. Not just because they’re so well written and produced, but it takes me back to when I was a kid. I can turn on “East Tennessee Christmas” by Chet Atkins, or “The Twelve Songs Of Christmas” by Jim Reeves and go right back to being a child again and remembering some great times.

As you get a little older, those songs become bittersweet, especially when some of the faces start to disappear from the family portrait. I’m certainly not trying to make anyone sad, but if you’ve lost someone in your life, Christmas starts to become a little harder to get through. I tend to get melancholy listening to those songs; Maybe that’s why I do a lot of Christmas shopping by myself. To fight it off, I turn my attention to my kids and how important it is to make great memories for them. I can’t let the pain of the past mess up their excitement in the present.

The truth is, Christmas is about a baby born in a manger, delivered by Mary and called Jesus. He was Emmanuel, which means, “God With Us.” He’s the reason for this amazing season, and most importantly why we have salvation. In the long list of what that baby means to us, mine would have to be the word “HOPE.” Because of Jesus, we have hope. Hope is that lighthouse that stands in the night, shining a beacon to those who are in danger. Hope is the shelter where you can run to and find safety in the storm. Hope is the pillar, the rock, and the foundation you can trust in. It is defined as a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen. For me, that’s what was lying in the manger that glorious night.

As this life starts to fade and the world daily becomes a more fearful place to live, we must go back to where it all started; the manger, where hope lies. That’s all I have when I seeing it raining on the just and the unjust. When I look at unfair things happening to good people, I have to go back to the manger. For the unanswered situations that so many are in right now, all I can do is return to where it all started. As I long to see and embrace precious family members that have already gone, my hope is that I will see them again one day, so I go back to the manger.

No matter what any of us are facing today, our hope is not in the doctor, the politician, or even money; our hope is still in the same place it was nearly two-thousand years ago.

Luke 2:12 (ESV)
And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.”

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