There was some good news this week, did you notice it? It was an event that always gives me a lift anyway—this week we passed through mid-winter! I always find that a significant event because now the short winter days start to lengthen into Spring, and then Summer. Many cultures and religions celebrate the winter solstice, mid-winter’s day, because the lengthening days give a sense of new hope, indeed, as Spring approaches, the hope of new life shown by budding trees and blossom. An example of this is the Druidic Cult of the Celtic peoples of Asia and Europe. The Easter Bunny is part of this pagan religion based on “gods that are not God” (Deuteronomy 32:12) (so not something Christians should associating with), rather it is the subject of our Easter celebrations (the timing of which is based on Spring in the northern hemisphere) which provides the real reason for hope. Something desperately needed in our sad world.
Real hope, true hope, is only found in the certain promise of the Gospel of Jesus, so Christians are not like those ‘who have no hope’ (1 Thessalonians 4:13). The evidence that confirms the certain hope of a Christian is personal experience of the changing, growing, redirecting work of the Holy Spirit in us. It is this experience that is our guarantee that we are God’s possession (Ephesians 1:14,15), and that our hope is a certainty, not wishful thinking. It is this ‘certain hope’ that is the basis for a courageous and effective Christian life no matter what situation, however bleak or difficult, we face.
‘Hope’ as generally used can be a very empty word with not much substance or effect e.g. ‘I hope it doesn’t rain today’; or ‘I hope next year will be better than this?’ or ‘I hope I get that job’. Such ‘hope’ is not Christian hope because it is not based on a solid foundation, on the ‘Rock of Christ’. The Christian hope is that of King David who said ‘my hope is in you’ (Psalm 39:7), that is in the God who controls the universe, and all of our lives.
So Christian hope is certain, but more it has ‘content’, certain content, because it is based on the promises of God and it is these promises that are the reason that a truly Christian heart will be marked by overflowing ‘Thankfulness’.
Thankfulness because of the ‘content’ of Christian ‘Hope’ i.e.
For the fact that Jesus died a terrible death to pay the penalty for my sin.
- For the fact that if I have surrendered myself to Him all my guilt, no matter how bad, is removed from the record.
- For the fact that I am now God’s child, an heir of all the promises of God that are contained in the phrase ‘Eternal Life’.
- For the fact that I have for certain eternal life and God will not let anyone or anything snatch it from me (John 10:27-29)
A Christian is not ‘Thankful’ because someone says they should be but because they have a ‘Spirit-driven’ thankfulness which they can’t help!
So as part of our weekend of Thankfulness let us spend time truly reflecting on the enormous Grace and Love of God shown in the death of Christ and the ‘Certain Hope’ that gives—and be ‘Thankful’!