Disappointment: the all-too familiar ache ubiquitous with the human experience – the common curtain call to high expectations. I’m realist enough to say I can live with a less-than-fairytale outcome – but one that surprises me or turns my expectations upside down? One that actually crushes every little dream I had carefully stored away? I’ve wondered in seasons of loose and shattered ends how I could even push forward.
We’re in a world full of loose ends and dead ends and empty promises and unfulfilled expectations. Wherever people are involved, disappointment will be found. We place our hope in a neatly-tied finish and we’re crushed when it isn’t so neat after all – or when we never really get the satisfaction of a finale – that email, that apology, those reciprocated feelings, that returned gift, that coveted reply. We place our hope in our own potential to achieve it all, to get it all done, to balance our precariously high stack of responsibilities with perfect precision and never let anyone else down. Wherever our own strength is involved, disappointment will be found. Yet how often we glibly push ahead into building our next ivory tower of expectations – only to repeat the cycle and reap the inevitable harvest of hurt feelings and gnawing disappointment.
We’re in a world full of loose ends and dead ends and empty promises and unfulfilled expectations — but God. Hope has been in our DNA from the beginning – when sin broke the perfect glory of creation – and Creator already had a plan to redeem. In the beginning, long before the dawn of time – redemption was in motion. Hope is threaded through millennia – the parallel that ties then to now. For thousands of years Israel hoped desperately for her Messiah to come and deliver her – and history marched on, a saga of destruction and captivity and idolatry. But God – came. Just like He planned and promised.
We’re all intrinsically hopeful – almost as if our very souls know that there is a worthy object. The only thing that will set us free from the tyranny of disappointment and dashed dreams is to stake our lives on the only Hope that can deliver us from our human experience – the Hope that came and lived it, human yet holy – the Hope that died and resurrected, redeeming it.
Now, we wait for that same Messiah – Christ, to come again and make all things new. Christmas heralds the only pure and perfect, ageless, complete Hope there ever was – the Hope of redemption that we could never construct or contrive or achieve on our own. How liberating to hope in something a sin-broken world could never destroy or soil – how wondrous to know that the object of our Hope is secure. Disappointment may be the world’s tiresome cacophony — but Hope is heaven’s tireless victory.
Merry Christmas – there’s Hope for you in Jesus.