Hope is a delicate thing. You see it in sports when a team is up, confidence is high, but then a few things start to go wrong and all of the sudden the hope seems to drift away. Our lives are like that too: hope can struggle to survive.

The problem here isn't that hope is so weak. All hope really is, is a promise. And you know like I do that a promise is only as good as the person who makes it. A lot of people promise a lot of good things, but, as they say, the proof is in the pudding.

But what about when things get serious in our life? Where does hope fit in. Let's take the person who struggles with addiction and wants to straighten their life out. What hope is there for that person when they know their addiction makes them unreliable. They can promise they'll never shoot heroin again, but the addiction has more power than they do. What hope is there? Or what about hope that your children will grow up to be responsible adults; that your health will be steady; that your retirement plans will succeed?

What we need is something better to build hope on. And that's where Christmas comes in. This world has really done a dis-service to us by turning Christmas into a consumer-driven frenzy of material happiness. Even a kid knows that no toy can truly make them happy forever. No, Christmas has something much better to offer: the promise of love that God kept.

God's promise is nearly as old as this world is. His promise was to send a Savior to destroy the work of the devil. To destroy the power of sin. To destroy the grip that death holds on people. In other words, God's promsie was a promise to fix our biggest problem, and the one problem that causes all the other problems. Christmas is about a Savior from sin: my sin, your sin and the sin of the people in your life. Jesus fulfilled the promise by living a perfect life and then offering that perfect life as a sin payment on the cross. Because of his work, you are saved from punishment and have eternal life in heaven.

This promise fulfilled is why you can have hope. In spite of all that is wrong with you and this world, God's love for you is certain. No that doesn't take the pain of disease or hardship away. But it does mean that when the end of the ages comes, you will stand on the side of God and will live with him forever in perfection. That is the ultimate resolution to every problem we face: God will take it away in eternity.

And we can believe it, because of the one who made that promise to us: God, who sent Jesus at Christmas to be our Savior.