Have you finished your shopping? Wrapped your gifts? Mailed them off? No? Feeling tense? Take a few moments here to sit down with a hot cup of cocoa and read another Advent devotional on HOPE.
After months of sheltering in place, many people living alone are experiencing forms of stress and depression, and not just because they haven’t bought all their Christmas gifts or won’t be able to have their usual family gatherings. Many people have become anxious about stepping outside their own door. Even pets can become clingy during this period. With all this as a backdrop, it is hard to imagine this Christmas being full of joy.
I felt tempted to join that crowd earlier this month. After I took a friend to get her COVID test and that test came back positive, I was asked to quarantine for fourteen days. At first, I was frustrated. I was angry. I became depressed. Why did I have to go through quarantine again? I had already had COVID. And why was I so upset? Why? Because the tears that fell reminded me of my first round of quarantine, the three weeks when my husband was in the hospital dying of COVID and I could not even visit him.
Yet scripture tells us that having happiness is one of the results of having hope. In Psalm 146:5, we learn, “Happy are those who have the God of Israel as their helper, whose hope is in the Lord their God.” Again in Prov. 10:28, we read, “The hopes of the godly result in happiness.”
How can we find that happiness when everything around us seems to be rushing toward sadness? For me, happiness came from knowing I had cared for my friend when she was sick and had no one else nearby to take her to the urgent care center. Despite the subsequent quarantine, I would make the same choice again. But far more important is the hope we both share in God. Because we have hope, we now also share the happiness of seeing her well again in time to celebrate Christmas.
Is there a special Christmas gift from the Lord that you have overlooked? I “hope” you find it in your home, at work or in your neighborhood.