Saturday, December 22, 2012

my reflection on hope

I've been reading a series of Advent scriptures for the first time this Christmas. Yesterday, God really helped these passages come alive to me and I want to share my reflection with you all to encourage you as well.

There are many this year who seem to have nothing to celebrate this Christmas. Those who are out of work, barely scraping by to just put food on the table...those who lost their homes (or vacation homes) in Hurricane Sandy...those who lost children at Sandy Hook elementary...and even my family who lost my uncle Kent just a couple months ago. If Christmas is about material gifts, then the poor have nothing to celebrate and the rich who suddenly lose revenue or homes, etc have nothing to celebrate. If Christmas is about family, then those who lost children, or spouses, or family members, or friends have nothing to celebrate. If Christmas is about security and peace, then none of us have anything to celebrate because there is war and instability everywhere we look.


Christmas is not about any of these things. Christmas is the celebration of a promise fulfilled. God promised a Savior would be born in a manger, that He would be born of a virgin, and that He would save us for all eternity. The people in the Bible who believed in those promises in the Old Testament (and did not see them fulfilled) lived in terrible circumstances. The Israelites were wanderers in the wilderness and when they had their own country it was taken from them and they were captives and slaves. And yet, they continued to rejoice and follow the Lord...because they had HOPE. In the gospels, the shepherds and the three wise men were told that a king and a savior was born, they believed, and they went and saw baby Jesus and saw the fulfilled promise. Nothing changed in their circumstances. But they had hope.

We can celebrate and rejoice this Christmas because God sent his Son, Jesus, to earth, to live as a man, fulfill the law, and die on the cross for our sins. Then, he rose from the dead, conquering death, and finalizing our salvation. We who believe in this saving power have the only hope available. We are adopted as sons into God's family and will live in eternity with him forever.

And even better, anyone who doesn't have this hope now, or understand it, is welcome. God has his arms wide open for any who choose to believe. That's the greatest gift.

I hope that this encourages you as much as it encourages me. 

Merry Christmas,

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