Summary: IT’S BEGINNING TO LOOK A LOT LIKE CHRISTMAS (Part 3) Someone has said, “Christmas is not about presents but presence—His presence.” Jesus is Emmanuel—God with us. Christmas makes it possible for God’s presence to fill our hearts and lives, and with His
In the classic Dr. Seuss story, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” the Grinch comes upon a sinister plan to stop Christmas from coming to Whoville. Once the last Who in Whoville had gone to sleep on Christmas Eve the Grinch disguised as Saint Nick sneaks into every house in the village taking everything that has to do with Christmas. The Grinch steals the presents, the food, the stockings, the decorations and even the tree. The Grinch won’t even leave a crumb fit for a mouse. Oh yes, “you’re a mean one Mr. Grinch!”
As the Grinch climbs the mountain with all the Christmas bounty he is positively pleased that he has ruined Christmas for all the Whos in Whoville; no one will be happy this Christmas morning! The Grinch listens to hear the sound of children crying, but. . .
"Every Who down in Whoville, the tall and the small,
Was singing! Without any presents at all!
He HADN’T stopped Christmas from coming it came!
Somehow or other, it came just the same!
And the Grinch, with his Grinch feet ice-cold in the snow
Stood puzzling and puzzling: ’How could it be so?’
’It came without ribbons! It came without tags!
’It came without packages, boxes or bags!’
And he puzzled three hours, till his puzzler was sore.
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before!
’Maybe Christmas’, he thought ’doesn’t come from a store.
’Maybe Christmas.... perhaps .. means a little bit more’."
Christmas without presents? Indeed Christmas must mean something more. The song says, “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas,” but what does Christmas really look like? If we take away the ribbons and bows, the tinsel and holly—if candy canes and mistletoe, Santa and reindeer, the lights, the trees, carolers and snow—if everything we can touch, taste, see and hear about Christmas is taken away, then what do we have left?
Someone has said, “Christmas is not about presents but presence—His presence.” Jesus is Emmanuel—God with us. Christmas makes it possible for God’s presence to fill our hearts and lives, and with His presence with have everything we need.
One of the greatest gifts His presence gives us is HOPE. Could it be the Whos in Whoville could sing because the hope within their hearts could never be taken away? Let’s take a few moments to unwrap God’s gift of hope—H-O- P-E. As we do may we discover this Christmas a hope that cannot be diminished or taken away.
• Romans 15:12-13 (NIV)
And again, Isaiah says, "The Root of Jesse will spring up, one who will arise to rule over the nations; the Gentiles will hope in him."  May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Real hope is not of this world. Real hope—a hope that will never disappoint you and can’t be taken away is heaven sent. Real hope is a gift from God. Real hope has a name; His name is Jesus! Jesus is our hope!
• Romans 15:12 (MsgB)
And Isaiah’s word: There’s the root of our ancestor Jesse, breaking through the earth and growing tree tall, tall enough for everyone everywhere to see and take hope!
God delivered on His promise. The words of the prophet Isaiah found their fulfillment in a babe born in a manger. Our hope was sent from heaven; Jesus came to bring us hope.
An old hymn of the church acknowledges our one true hope found only in Jesus.
“My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness; I dare not trust the sweetest frame but holy lean on Jesus’ name. On Christ the solid Rock I stand; all other ground is sinking sand, all other ground is sinking sand.”
Hope is heaven sent, but hope must be received personally. Notice the words of the song do not say, “Our hope,” but “MY HOPE.” Until you and I choose to accept God’s gift of hope found only through His Son Jesus, we live in this world without hope.
• Ephesians 2:12-13 (NIV)
 Remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world.  But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.
Don’t be deceived! Apart from Christ you have no hope, but thank God hope has been heaven sent. Jesus came and willingly offered His life upon the cross so we be forgiven and reconciled to God; we have a package heaven sent—HOPE!
God doesn’t give us an empty hope; our hope overflows! The supply of hope is not going to diminish or come up short. Heaven sent hope is always more than enough!