"For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness." Romans 8:24-26
Have you ever seen the movie A Christmas Story? You know, the one with Ralphie and his friend who gets his tongue stuck to a frozen flagpole? The 1983 holiday classic centers around Ralphie’s longing for a Red Ryder BB gun. He has built it up as the be-all, end-all of his nine-year-old existence, and there is nothing he wants more. For most of the movie, other people, including a department store Santa, pour cold water on his dream, but he continues to keep hope alive. When Christmas morning comes, it seems Ralphie’s hope is crushed when all the presents are opened and there is no Red Ryder. Spoiler alert: Of course, there is one more hidden gift, and Ralphie’s greatest wish comes true.
At that point, Ralphie doesn’t need hope anymore. He can’t hope anymore. His hope is fulfilled. As Paul writes, “Hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have?” Paul is talking about the completion of God’s work within and around us, the fulfilled restoration of our bodies and souls and all of creation. Paul explains that this is reality already, made possible because Jesus has come, and lived, and died, and risen. Now, with help from His Spirit, we wait patiently to see His work fulfilled. This was the promise God gave at the beginning and continued through Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and the history of the Jewish people. Our hope is fulfilled in Jesus.
What is your deepest hope this Christmas? What step can you take to experience the strength of God’s Spirit to renew hope and realize His work all around us?