Would Jesus dream of a white Christmas?

I don’t think He would. No, not just because it doesn’t really snow in Bethlehem.

If my memory serves me correctly, I’ve only had one white Christmas. It was less than glamorous. Most of the day was spent in our blue Dodge caravan, braving the extended drive (because of heavy snow and ice) from Phoenix to a small farm town in New Mexico. We were on our way to see family, and the drive seemed to last an eternity. I distinctly remember NOT wishing for a white Christmas numerous times that day, as the serenity of the snowy atmosphere was clouded by frustration and anxiety. Overall, the trip was fun and had great moments, but the generally-romanticized experience of a white Christmas left a sour taste in my mouth. Moreover, I love how I came home to escape the Texas cold, and it ends up snowing in Phoenix today!

There are ideas, circumstances, and events in life that appear ideal and desirable…then you actually engage in them, and they fall short of your expectations. Why is that? What makes something so appealing, even if it is truly mediocre in comparison to a number of other things? Do you concentrate on the positive side of the spectrum to the point of totally ignoring the reality of the negative? While these questions could transpire into a number of topics, I’m going to turn it into a very brief call to avoid ignorant optimism.

When someone suggests an idea for future plans that require financial sacrifice or a substantial time commitment (perhaps even both), we tend to become increasingly optimistic if we highly respect the person or the idea. Picture yourself in a planning meeting, and a recommendation is given that resonates with the majority of people in the room. They begin listing off all of the benefits that the idea will provide, and the idea immediately begins to obtain concrete points and structure. You should never be afraid to shed light on the hindrances and negative consequences of an idea! No idea is free of drawbacks, and you would greatly help yourself and others to make them known.

Similarly, when you discover a method or planned course of action, do you get excited with the thought of benefits? Do you take the cons into considerations equally with the pros? You should! Here’s why:

When we are optimistic about something, we tend to more or less disregard the negative aspects involved, and face them as best we can when they undoubtedly arrive. However, when we have hope about a situation or circumstance, we acknowledge the drawbacks of a planned idea, and accept that the overall benefits are worth absorbing drawbacks that will come. To avoid confusion, I’ll try putting it more simply: to put off the reality of negative drawbacks by saying something like “We’ll cross that road when we come to it” can be dangerous. Frankly, we need to be prepared for possible scenarios that could arise in life.

Planning out 401Ks instead of going on big trips, making out wills without being morbid, taking opportunities to invest in the lives of the next generation, leaning on God especially in the midst of success rather than just times of hardship…..if we have eternal hope in the holy Personage of Christ, why should we live life oblivious to the struggles we will face? Jesus was not optimistic about God’s plan for His life, He was hopeful. He knew the pain and suffering coming His way, but He had hope. Taking a page from the book of a close friend, I urge you to hold off on pursuing ignorant optimism that leads to fear. Instead, just have hope. If you don’t have hope, I pray you find Him. Once you have hope, don’t judge and look down upon others who lack it…you also have to BE hope.

If you hope for a white Christmas, that’s perfectly fine. Just don’t take it back when you bust out the shovels for blocked, muddy roads.

 

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