by Ricky Chelette, Executive Director
The Christmas season is busy: parties, shopping, family, church, and more. Additionally, our culture seems determined to cancel the origins of Christmas and its significance at every opportunity. Amid “happy holidays” and “season’s greetings,” we miss the beauty of the One for whom the season is to celebrate.
Missing the meaning of Christmas isn’t a new problem. People in Jesus’ day miss His arrival as well. Busy with their lives and ignoring the signs of the times, most people missed the birth of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
But a few “wise men” were paying attention. Many storytellers describe these men as kings, but they were likely scholars of their day who were consultants and advisors to kings and leaders. Though wise in many areas of life – astronomy, science, ancient texts – they were well-versed in the source of all true wisdom, the bible.
The wise men knew ancient prophecies foretold the coming of a baby born in Bethlehem who would save the people from their sins(Isa. 53). They knew a sign would appear in the sky (Num. 24:17). But to see the sign, they had to do something that few of us are willing to do today. They had to raise their eyes away from all that surrounded them and gaze heavenward. They had to stop the introspection and navel-gazing and believe in something more than what was before them. When they did, they saw the sign, the star, and they saw Jesus.
What we would see if we spent time in the Word and lifted our eyes from the common to Christ; if we stop trying to figure out how we can make our lives conform to our ever-changing feelings and surrender to the truth revealed to us in God’s Word?
At Living Hope Ministries, we, too, can be easily distracted. On some fronts, we have been attacked, accused, and hated more than ever before, but we have also seen many new people seeking help and hope amid a world that offers neither.
We continue to offer both online and in-person support groups weekly. We continue to produce great podcasts addressing current cultural issues related to LGBT+, gender identity, sexual and relational struggles, and biblical discipleship. We continue to speak to thousands of individuals and groups throughout the US and abroad about the gospel’s transforming power. We have spent hundreds of hours of one-on-one, phone, and zoom meetings with individuals and families seeking ways to walk with Jesus and respond redemptively and biblically to our cultural moment. In every interaction, we have sought to be the hands and feet of Jesus, offering hope, help, healing, mercy, grace, and a safe place for people to be heard, known, and fully loved in Christ. As a result, we have seen lives changed, families restored, new life emerging, and broken hearts mended through Jesus.
The only way that happened is because we stopped looking at the culture, the nay-sayers, the documentary writers, and the haters to the author and finisher of our faith – Jesus. His faithfulness has caused all of these miracles to take place, and we give all the glory to Him.
We have helped hundreds of individuals and families lift their eyes from their present struggles and see the hand of God at work in ways we don’t often understand at the moment. We have prayed, cried, attended weddings, welcomed new babies, rejoiced over victories, and wept over moral failings. But in every situation, we have trusted the Christ-child who came into our world to save the people from their sins. And we are blessed to see Jesus do that daily at Living Hope.
At Living Hope, parents are finding a place that adheres to their orthodox understanding of sexuality while understanding their child’s struggle with gender identity and offering a loving, compassionate, and Christ-centered response. Men, young and old, are trapped by desires but find freedom and faithfulness in Christ. Women, wrestling with whether they can embrace the world’s understanding of femininity and not experience harm, hurt, and heartache, embrace their true femininity and live boldly as God’s created daughters. Wives who discover for the first time in their married life that their husband is also attracted to men and have acted upon it find ways to forgive and rebuild their marriage.
In each situation, Living Hope Ministries becomes the safe place to express the addictions, hurts, confusion, and pain, while remaining rooted in biblical answers that bring freedom and restoration.
Ministry would not be possible without people like you who are willing to support LHM. Thank you! You are making an eternal difference and a present impact on the kingdom of God. But none of this would be possible without a baby born in a manger, the lamb slain from the foundations of the world, sent to redeem us and give us hope. He is there to meet you in your place of need. He is there to bless you and heal you in your hurt. He is waiting, but you must look up. You must lift your eyes away from the transitory distractions of this world to the eternal promises of a Savior born in Bethlehem. Like the wise men of old, we must seek the King, for He is the only true solution to all that ails our world.