Friday, December 4, 2020

Hope in the Warm Fuzzies for Writers

by A.C. Williams @Free2BFearless

Happy December, world! ‘Tis the season for spiced cider and sparkly lights and jingle bells and chestnuts roasting on an open fire. At least, that’s been the tradition every year for my lifetime, but this is 2020. And everything is different. 

The world has been in a constant cycle of anxiety and stress since March, maybe earlier. Our way of life has been turned upside down. Any certainty we had about the future vanished like a puff of smoke. And we’re not even talking about the US election. In fact, let’s not talk about it at all, other than acknowledging that it’s just one more stressful thing to add to the already overwhelming pile of stressful things. 

If you managed to get anything written at all this year, consider yourself fortunate. The emotional toll 2020 has taken on creatives is real. 

Everywhere we turn, it feels like we are surrounded by grief and sorrow and darkness and loss, and for people who aren’t experiencing those things personally yet, you know someone who is. And while I’ve seen so many people eager and ready for 2020 to be over, we are by no means guaranteed that 2021 will be an improvement.

So … aren’t you glad it’s Christmas? Aren’t the lights refreshing? Aren’t the songs uplifting? Or do they leave a bitter taste in your mouth? Is this season like rubbing salt in a gaping wound that won’t heal?

People always seem to consider Christmas a time of hope. It’s one of those qualities that always pops up in holiday movies and songs we sing during this time of year, but can we get real for a moment?

Hope is hard, y’all, and in a year like 2020, it’s harder than ever. So many people have lost so much, jobs, loved ones, the promise of stability. We’ve seen our country tear itself apart from the inside out. And with so much uncertainty moving forward, it’s nearly impossible to believe that anything good can come out of this horrible year.

Christmas is about Hope? Sure. But Hope in what? That people will be kind to each other? That the new year will be better? That groceries will get less expensive, quarantines will loosen up, or that people will be allowed to gather in their homes again?

Sorry, but none of those will get me out of bed in the morning. I don’t see any of those happening any time soon either. So if there’s nothing to hope for, why have hope at all?

I’ve never understood the Christmas Blues better than I have this year.

Hope, along with Faith and Love, fall into this triumvirate of holidayish themes that have been redefined by our culture. The world defines Faith, Hope, and Love as emotions, and while it’s true that these concepts are involved with our feelings and connected to our emotions, that’s not what they are. Faith, Hope, and Love are responses. They are choices. 

The irony of all three is that the moments we need to respond with them are the moments when we don’t feel them at all. 

We don’t need to choose faith when we can see God at work. 

We don’t need to choose love when we are surrounded by people we adore.

We don’t need to choose hope when we already feel hopeful.

So many of the stories we like to tell during this season are all warm and fuzzy, the feel-good flicks that scratch the itch for a happily-ever-after sort of tale. There’s nothing wrong with those, not at all, but the truth is that hope isn’t happy. Hope isn’t something you need when everything is going right. You need hope when everything is going wrong. And if we’re not careful, we can start to let the world’s definition of hope invade our thoughts. 

We can’t find hope in human kindness. We can’t find hope in government assistance or political leadership. No matter how nice they feel, we can’t find hope in the warm fuzzy stories that are a dime a dozen on your favorite streaming service. You can’t find hope there because that’s not what hope is.

Christmas is about hope, yes, but it’s not hope in what. It’s hope in Who. Hope has a name, and His name is Jesus. When we truly understand that our only hope is Christ, we can respond like He would in unthinkable circumstances. We can keep believing when all the odds are against us. We can love the unlovable, even our enemies. And we can keep pressing forward when the last thing we feel at the moment is hopeful. 

My hope for 2021? It’s not in tax breaks or job opportunities or word count goals. My hope is that Jesus will keep His promises to me. My hope is that no matter what evil comes at us in the next year that Jesus can use it to do something good. My hope is that even if I lose everything, I won’t lose Him. 

How about you?

Rest assured, friend, if you don’t feel hopeful right now, it’s okay. You’re right where you need to be.


A.C. Williams is a coffee-drinking, sushi-eating, story-telling nerd who loves cats, country living, and all things Japanese. She’d rather be barefoot, and if isn’t, her socks will never match. She likes her road trips with rock music, her superheroes with snark, and her blankets extra fuzzy, but her first love is stories and the authors who are passionate about telling them. Learn more about her book coaching services and follow her adventures on social media @free2bfearless.


  1. I like your thought that hope, faith and love are not feelings. I never considered that before I read it on your post. Thanks for challenging us to dig deeper in our thinking and resulting actions.

  2. That's a powerful and uplifting article. It gave me hope.

  3. Thank you for an honest but encouraging post when so many of us need to hear exactly that. "Hope has a name, and His name is Jesus." Amen! As long as we keep holding to that we'll make it through.

  4. Outstanding! Thanks for sharing.

  5. Uplifting, encouraging article. Sure helps at a time like this. Thank you for writing and sharing it.