After our kids moved out of the house, the stress of Christmas shopping tapered off. The kids also decided to end a longstanding tradition of giving us a Christmas list to labor over — which certainly helped ease our holiday worries.

Even with a smaller Christmas shopping load, I still grumbled as I struggled to pick out gift cards for family members and friends. As I drove home, I stopped at a crosswalk and waited for a frail gentlemen to hobble across the street. He wore ripped clothes. His face was emptied of life. It hit me that my holiday challenges were indeed insignificant compared to many others.

For those going through hard times, the Christmas season represents an extra burden to an already overburdened life. The holidays are often a blunt reminder of a lost job, a medical condition, or a shattered relationship — a life seemingly without hope.

But in Christ there is hope. Our Lord has endless compassion for those who carry a heavy heart. He invites us to come to him humbly like a child in need of a warm embrace from Mom and Dad, which lets them know things will be all right.

God is our reassuring parent who helps carry our burdens and restores our hope. He wants us to tether our lives to his yoke in order to lessen the weight we try to carry alone. He understands our circumstances and is eager to help us when life becomes extra hard.

We do not need to lug our heavy burdens by ourselves. Accept his invitation to come to him, trusting he will provide hope during hopeless times and rest when the soul becomes weary.

Father, forgive me for depending on myself more than on you at times. I thank you for coming into my life and helping me carry my load. Give me the humility to always accept your offer of hope and rest when I need it the most. Amen.

Go Deeper — Keep your eyes open today for someone who needs the gift of hope in their overburdened life. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide your reactions and words, and to give you the love and courage to approach them.

Read Further — This is a great article about recapturing what giving at Christmas should be about. Generosity Beyond Social Obligations.

Tags: Hope Matthew 11
Photo Credit: Nick West