Christmas is the time of joy, not sadness.
Christmas is the time of love, not hate.
Christmas is the time of peace, not anger.
Christmas is the time of forgiveness, not grudges.
Christmas is the time of joy, nor fear.
It has been a tough year. God was not surprised of all the bad things that happened this year and there were many. The global pandemic, economic recession, social unrest, political division, cultural upheaval, racial reckoning, record forest fires, complete with fire tornados, extra powerful hurricanes, floods and mass shootings. Did I miss anything?
It has been a hard year. It was a hard year for Mary & Joseph too. It was dark. Dark with Herod’s jealousy. Dark with Roman oppression. Dark with poverty. Dark with violence. Herod went on a rampage, killing babies. Joseph had to take Mary and Jesus to Egypt.
Jesus came during this dark time and He is the light that overcomes all darkness!
If there is ever a year, we need Christmas, this is it! If there is ever a year, we need the hope of Christmas, this is it. If there is ever a year, we need Christ, my friends, this is that year.
It is a good thing we have made it here—to Advent, nearly to Christmas!
And this hope He delivers, this hope He embodied and fulfilled and brought into the world so long ago, this hope that He offers today—this is not a hope He dangles before us, taunting us with it just out of reach. It is not a hope He expects us to dream up, as we struggle in life’s worst moments.
This is a hope that He infuses within us. It is a hope filled and fanned within us by God’s Spirit—even in our weakness. In our deepest pain when hope seems too far away or impossible. When we feel too weak to carry on, when we feel hope is almost gone, His Spirit is with us. His Spirit helps to restore our hope by reminding us of God’s faithfulness and promises.
The Spirit of God leads us to the scriptures, and it reminds us of what God has done for us and that his promises are yes and Amen. God fulfills all his promises. Our God, our Immanuel is with us.
His messages of hope include:
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11).
“But now, this is what the Lord says—he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. 2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze” (Isaiah 43:1-2).
We are not alone, even at our loneliest or darkest moments. Christ has come. Our God is with us every step of the way!
God knows our pain, challenges, and struggles.
He sees you. And He is here.
He is Immanuel, God with us.
And Jesus’s future does not depend on our current problems being resolved before hope can be realized: Jesus’s compassion and service are available to redeem our fears right now.
King James Version
6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
By Brian Elliott