What does your heart hope for most this Christmas season? Toys, clothes, money, the kids to go to bed early and behave, a cure, a sober dad, healing to a broken relationship, one more year…world peace?
The people of Israel had hope of a Savior; a Messiah. Can you imagine living in a time when we weren’t saved by the grace of God? It’s hard for me to imagine this, especially considering how removed we are from those times, but this is a reality even today for some. Many people today do in fact live without the hope of a Savior; they live a life of not knowing, loving, and having a relationship with God.
Tradition and law held the Israelites captive to rituals and rules. But Jesus came and changed all of that. He literally shook the foundation that people of His time stood upon through His death and resurrection. Forever ripping the veil that separated us from God. Prior to that, we stood on one side of the veil, slaves to and covered in sin, but His blood washed our sin away. (Can I get a good Thank You Jesus?) His perfect sacrifice made us righteous with God. The Greek word for righteous is dikaios, meaning “just in the eyes of God.” What better gift could we hope for???
I feel like saying “Boom, drop the mic” here…but, God’s gifts didn’t start with Jesus’ death, but were sanctified in it. His gifts started long before that, with the birth of His precious son. Jesus’ birth represents the beginning of our eternal love, our eternal hope, our eternal salvation. Jesus’ birth and life was necessary to teach us about God and to usher us to a deepened faith in God. He taught of God’s mercy, love, and forgiveness. What gifts! It’s hard not to feel blessed with gifts like these, especially in the times of today.
Whatever struggles you face this holiday season, or any day of the year, remember who was born for you…yes YOU!
“For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest upon his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6)
I’d like to encourage you (and me) today…put your hope in the Lord. I’ll be the first to admit that I am guilty of putting my hope elsewhere…how many times I have thought: “I hope this time will be different,” “I hope my situations get better,” “I hope I win the lottery and don’t have to work anymore.” Hope in the world, people, or things quickly fades. But what if we put our hope in a Savior, that was born and died for us, a Savior who is the mighty warrior defeating the greatest of enemies for us, a Savior who continues to advocate for us even today. I’m going to put my hope in that person…the mighty Savior who seeks the weak who are seeking Him. A loving Father who forgives me again, and again…and again!
Are you struggling with hope? Can you not find your hope in this crazy world? May I offer a suggestion…lean on God, the source of hope:
“I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13)
Again, what are you hoping for this Christmas? What is that one thing you long for in this season of hope? Personally I am hoping Christmas is magical, and not the Disney World kind of magical. Wait…No! Not magical! I’m hoping Christmas is a miracle! God I put my hope in the miracle of you and your mighty son alone. Jesus!