If we’re honest, no matter what season of the year, Life’s circumstances are often a pain! (Physically, Mentally, Spiritually). Right?

What this world has to offer, along with the wonderful & beautiful in this Holiday season, is fearful & ugly. Whatever good there may be, like Christmas morning, is short lived. Life seems fret with hard circumstances that are unrelenting and ever-changing. Yet for the Christian, who not only believes but follows, in this Christmas there is Christ.

Which is true? Our current circumstances or our present Christ? … What if BOTH are true? “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

But how can we live Life knowing hope, joy, peace & love, (lighting each thematic Advent candle), when all around us is not? The answer can only be found in Jesus; not in this World, but in Christ alone.

I submit we base too much of our hope, joy, peace & love on the circumstances of this world, which leaves Christians looking a lot like the people of this world. For our Life to be otherwise, we must look otherwise – to Christ. Not that we will be pain-free if we do, but that we will live free with true hope, true joy, true peace & true love.

I don’t know about you, but in my Life, in spite of everything I’m daily burdened to deal with, I still want to live free in TRUE Hope, Joy, Peace & Love. Don’t you? We can!

How? Here’s the hard part… (buckle up)

It will takes a major shift in your/my perspective. It will require a major change in the way of thinking & seeing on your part. The Greek word is metanoia = the English word Repent; not change of actions/behavior but change of thinking/mind. (ie. Romans 12:2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.)

Why? Here’s my thinking. 2 Hypotheses: #1. True joy is based on true hope To have joy based on current circumstances is to also have no need of present hope. And if such circumstances are far from desirable, joy becomes far from acceptable. However if joy is truly based, not on happy circumstances, but on hope in Christ, then such joy is not only acceptable, it is desirable!

Hope in Christ alone brings Joy alone in Jesus.

#2. True peace is based on true love To have peace based on current real circumstances is also to have no real love. If such circumstances are far from bearable, love becomes far from doable. However if peace is truly based, not on circumstances, but on love of Christ, then such peace is not only obtainable, it is sustainable!

Love of Christ alone brings Peace alone in Jesus.

Deduction: So, if Hope only in Christ means Joy only in Him, and Peace only in Christ means Love only in Him, then we will know and share true Hope, Joy, Peace & Love IN SPITE of the current circumstances of Life.

Questions: (for you in this Advent season)

  • What is your Hope in right now? That your circumstances change? Or is it in Christ alone, because you have a changed your way of thinking?
  • What is your Joy in right now? Your current circumstances? Or is it ultimately in Christ, because you have changed your way of thinking?
  • What is your Peace right now? That an envisioned change in your circumstances would come? Or is it your present Peace in Christ that has changed?
  • What is your Love right now? Is it based on how your circumstances are going? Or is it based more on your Love of Christ?

I must ponder these questions myself in my every-day-Life, which is full of challenges. Circumstances may come and go, but Christ came/is coming, and never will He leave us. Ever.

For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor,
Mighty God,
Everlasting Father,
Prince of Peace.

Isaiah 9:6 NIV