As we leave another Christmas season and turn our attention toward the new year, many people will find themselves dealing with disappointment of some sorts. For some it is the immediate disappointment with the Christmas holidays. Perhaps they are disappointed because they didn't get a certain gift. Or they were actually disappointed in the gift they got.
Marketers have capitalized on the after Christmas phenomenon of "gift remorse". That's why they offer gift receipts so that people can return items with ease. That's why they have huge after Christmas sales so that they can entice you into purchasing other items while you are there exchanging the gift. And that is why they invented gift cards so that you can allow the person to get want they really wanted in the first place thereby avoiding disappointment altogether. Unless, of course the person is disappointed they got a gift card and not a gift.
There is also the disappointment that some people face as they reflect on the past year. These disappointments can include unmet expectations, personal losses, relationship issues, and failures big and small.
We can be disappointed in many things, but our biggest disappointments, I believe are with people. First on the list is disappointment with ourselves. Next on the list are those closest to us, our family and friends. From there the sphere includes neighbors, coworkers, and classmates. We can even be disappointed in strangers who let us down. Of course the list will include pastors, deacons, and church members as well. Finally, if not careful, we can even be disappointed with God.
When we find ourselves disappointed in someone or something, we need to ask ourselves why? Usually we will find that the disappointment comes from some unmet expectation. We "hope" for one thing and are disappointed when our hope is not met.
When the Scripture talks about hope, especially our hope of salvation in Christ, it is a hope that is not disappointed. This hope is a joyful and confident expectation. This hope is affirmed by Holy Spirit Who lives in our hearts. It is also confirmed to us by the love of God demonstrated by the cross.
Like Paul, we can confidently place our hope in God. He is the object and subject of our hope. Even if or when we may be disappointed in Him, He on the other hand will not disappoint us, even if we disappoint Him. That's the kind of hope that God offers.
Let us spread this hope this coming year. As we meet disappointed people let us introduce them to the One Who offers a "hope that does not disappoint." As we face disappointments ourselves, let us turn our focus back to God and His love for us.
I love you and it's a privilege to be your pastor.