Though the fig tree may not blossom,
Nor fruit be on the vines;
Though the labor of the olive may fail,
And the fields yield no food;
Though the flock may be cut off from the fold,
And there be no herd in the stalls—
Yet I will rejoice in the LORD,
I will joy in the God of my salvation. (
At the time I write this, the Christmas tree may be empty beneath—all the gifts opened and wrapping paper shredded and trashed. The sometime exhausting task of frantic shopping and preparations for family gatherings that bring an adrenalin high, may find us wanting to crash on the couch today. Truth is, Christmas can bring disappointment. Perhaps the gift you took such great pains to purchase and the hefty price you paid did not produce the reaction you desired. Maybe when we opened our presents we felt more “Ho hum,” than “Ho, ho, ho!” We may set such a high bar of expectations that it is almost impossible for the reality to measure up—and so there is disappointment. Financial challenges, family conflict, physical ailments, and a host of nagging troubles can rob our Christmas joy.
As the year winds down, another year looms on the horizon—and what will it bring? Maybe we will move beyond being haunted by the ghost of Christmas past, and now fear the specter of Christmas future. Disappointment may be supplanted by dread. We are living in a fantasy world if we do not think that crises are looming in the New Year.
Habakkuk, the ancient prophet knew that. He had seen hard times that had brought disappointment, and he knew peril might escalate in the future and so he was tempted to dread. However, he made a choice—to delight in the Lord! God is unchanging. He is on the throne. His sovereign purpose has Him astride our yesterdays and our tomorrows. God is working out His will—and it will be glorious!
As a child of God, we have salvation! What would it profit us to gain the whole world as a Christmas gift, and lose our soul? That would be everlasting disappointment and eternal dread! Instead, we may delight in the greatest gift of all—salvation! Our past sins are blotted out and our future hopes are secure. What more could we need? If the Christmas stockings are now empty, yet our hearts can be full of joy. Should the news headlines be full of evil tidings for the future, yet our souls can rest in confidence. Make Habakkuk’s choice your choice. It may not change your circumstances, but it will change your attitude!