. . Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect . . . . 1 Peter 3:15 (NIV)

Truthfully, I felt a bit hopeless when called upon to write a devotional about “hope.” The word looks small, but the task of explaining it seems enormous. So I’ll resort to what writers do when they can’t fully explain something with a succinct answer: I’ll tell stories.

When I was six years old, I woke up in the middle of one night and found my dad on the couch getting a shot from our pastor’s wife who was a nurse. Shortly thereafter, an ambulance arrived and took my dad to the local hospital. I didn’t understand the magnitude of what was happening then, and neither did anybody else.

That night was the beginning of a long journey for my family as my parents traveled throughout the state to find out what was plaguing my dad. A diagnosis of cerebral Whipple’s disease came many years later. And while that brought some relief, the ultimate answers from the doctors did not. There was no cure. Amazingly, those words didn’t rob me of my hope that my father would be healed. Just like the Bible says about Abraham in Romans 4:18, “[a]gainst all hope, [I] in hope believed” that my dad would be healed. Maybe it was childlike faith. All I know is that I didn’t produce that hope; God did.

Similarly, the whole time that I was in college I hoped that I would get married after graduation and start a family. I’ve now been out of college for over eleven years and haven’t seen those plans materialize. But not being able to see what I had hoped would happen hasn’t put a damper on my hope. I’ve continued to hope and pray for a spouse, taking comfort in Romans 8:24-25, “For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.”

Thankfully, Jesus has filled me with hope and doesn’t call upon me to define it or to explain it. He only asks that I be able to answer people when they ask me about the Reason for my hope. That I can do. I can tell people that my hope comes from Christ and Christ alone.
At this time of year, so many people yearn to know that there is more to life than a humdrum daily routine. They long to be filled instead of living an empty life. They desire to know about and have this hope that we as Christians have. So as you are spreading holiday cheer, make sure to spread hope as well.

Precious Jesus, thank You for abiding in me and giving me a lifetime supply of hope. This season and throughout the year, give me opportunities to share the Reason for my hope.

Have you thought through how to respond if someone asks you the Reason for your hope? Why not practice that with someone you know so that you will be ready to share your hope with others this holiday season.