Restoring hope this Christmas

December 12, 2013

The Christmas story offers a message of hope to southern Albertans facing a long road to recovery—and to anyone awaiting restoration.

Christmas isn’t a season often associated with waiting. But for families who were affected by the southern Alberta flood last June, it’s exactly that.

The recovery process has been slow—frustratingly slow. So much is tied up in appraisals, approvals, and paperwork. As some people prepare for the holiday festivities, others are still battling post-traumatic stress syndrome, the difficulties of life in a partially or completely unlivable home, and the crippling hopelessness caused by the lack of answers.

We’re waiting, too. Samaritan’s Purse is partnering with around 70 of the most vulnerable, flood-affected families through the Southern Alberta Restoration Project.

From fixing electrical problems to completely restoring houses from the ground up, we’re helping these people return home. But in many cases, our hands are tied until the families discover how much coverage they will receive.

With the holidays fast approaching, we’ve been reminded how the Christmas story is tailor-made for those facing an agonizing wait.

Did you know that Jesus’ birth was the fulfillment of a promise that God made to humanity at the beginning of time? Throughout the ages, the Jews and all who believed in the Lord cried out for salvation over and over again. And they continued to wait.

Through slavery to the Egyptians, a brutal trek through deserts and wilderness, and constant conquests in the promised land, they clung to a hope similar to what the prophet Isaiah declared hundreds of years before Jesus was born:

“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.
Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end.
He will reign…with justice and righteousness
    from that time on and forever” (Isaiah 6-7, NIV).

But waiting often drains hope. Many times, the Israelites were overcome with disbelief that God would keep His promise.  

Then Jesus was born.

He didn’t look or act like they had expected, but the Messiah had come. He lived and taught about God’s love for humanity; He died and rose again, redeeming humanity so that they could spend eternity with Him.

But life is still far from perfect. The consequences of sin can be seen in the suffering of humanity, and through disasters like a flood that turned thousands of people’s lives upside down. The reality is—we’re still waiting for Jesus to fully set things right.

And He has promised to do just that. Each Christmas, we not only celebrate Jesus’ birth, but also renew our hope that He will return to rule with justice and righteousness.  

Are you struggling this Christmas, and waiting for God to come through?

Be encouraged. One day, Jesus is coming back and “He will wipe every tear from [our] eyes. There will be no more death, or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” (Revelation 21:4, NIV).

May this Christmas season help you renew your hope in Him.  

Learn more about how we are helping restore the homes and lives of vulnerable families in southern Alberta.