Summary: Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of all hope, and thus a

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One of the best things about Christmas, in my opinion at least, is the sense of anticipation that comes with it. We see it most readily among little children, who follow the “Elf on the Shelf” around the house from day to day, and carefully craft their Christmas wish lists, and eagerly jump on Santa’s lap. In our house, it starts right after her May birthday. Mary Ellen sees something she wants, and so we advise her to remember it and ask for it for Christmas, which, of course is too far away. But as December 25th approaches, you can watch her excitement grow as she anticipates finally receiving these things she has been wishing for for weeks, or even months. And really, it’s that way with all children, and even some of us adults, too.

There are most certainly more than a few people in this world who joyfully announce that Christmas is their favorite time of year. Whether that’s because of the decorations, or the carols, or the homemade goodies, or the gifts, varies from person to the next, but that doesn’t change the simple truth that there are a lot of hopes built up around Christmas. What’s ironic about such Christmas hopes, though, is that often times we end up disappointed. The gingerbread cookies get burned, or we don’t get the gift we wanted most, and just like that, all our hopes are dashed.

I remember one year when I was about nine or ten years old. My sister and I had both decided we wanted a “Barbie Dream House” for Christmas that year. And, of course, that was a pretty extravagant gift, so my parents explained to us on more than one occasion that if we were going to get Barbie’s “Dream House” at all, we were going to have to share it. That didn’t deter us, though; the “Dream House” was what we wanted. And so we wrote it on all our Christmas lists, we told Santa all about it and anyone else who would listen. In the weeks leading up to Christmas, we would get out our Barbies on the weekends and play with them, excitedly dressing them and preparing them for that day when their new home would arrive!

And sure enough, Christmas morning, we were elated to find a beautiful, glorious, real-life Barbie Dream House sitting under the Christmas tree! But it gets even better, because next to Barbie’s Dream House was a Barbie swimming pool! My sister and I were beside ourselves. We had gotten everything we wanted and more! Well, needless to say, before Christmas dinner had settled in our stomachs, we were up in my sister’s room with the Dream House all set up, the pool full of water, and the Barbie’s arrayed around the new landscape. But it goes downhill from there. It wasn’t too long before the front door broke off the house, over-extended by our excited hands. Then, my sister picked up her favorite Barbie doll, now dressed in a glittery pink bathing suit, and placed her in the pool for Barbie’s first swim. Which also turned out to be Barbie’s last swim because the water made her hair a tangled rat’s nets, and her beautiful rubber legs a splotchy mess. She looked like she had leprosy. Suddenly, that Dream House that we had so looked forward to was pretty disappointing.

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