We know that hope does not disappoint. The question is do we believe it.
When push comes to shove, and things are hard, and we don't know when they are going to change, and we are done, over it, and absolutely desperate for it to be different, do we believe that our hope will not be disappointed in the time it takes to get from Point A to Point B. And if we aren't absolutely convinced that it won't be, what do we do.
We talk so much about taking all of our cares, anxieties, worries, and fears to the foot of the cross and laying them down. Why? Because we know the cross wasn't the end of the story. Despite death and burial, Jesus didn't remain in a tomb.
But what if we took a slightly different approach and took all of those same things to the manger. To the place where it all began. It seems kind of strange in a way to give every thing that is weighing us down, making our heads pound and muscles ache from tension to a baby. I mean a baby can't feed itself, give itself a bath, or give us wise counsel on what we are supposed to do. Babies are completely and totally dependent on their care givers.
But maybe that's the point. Maybe that's the first lesson a baby can teach us.
A baby in a manger can teach us that God will give us the perfect people in our lives to help us along the way.
A baby in a manger can teach us that we are best able to flourish when we are not dependent on ourselves.
A baby in a manger can teach us that despite what is working against us, as long as God is on His throne, nothing can thwart His plans.
A baby in a manger can teach us that sometimes the best thing we can do is allow ourselves to be held when all we want to do is run and hide.
And a baby in a manger can teach us that in time, at the proper time, we will see evidence of growth.
There just seems to be something about this time of year that not only fills us with incredible hope, but also reminds us of our unmistakable humanity. The humanity that says we really can't do it all, that humbles us enough to remember our foucs can easily be on the wrong things that seem like the right things, and that we are in desperate need of rescue, mostly from ourselves. Yes, we need to lay things down at the foot of the cross, but before we do that, let's start at the manger and joyfully declare Hallelujah, Light has come, a Savior who will set us free, a promise for those who believe.