• Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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  • December 2013
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The Hope of Christmas

Christ and ChristmasI am writing today about the hope of Christmas. Hope is something we need all year-long, but maybe you especially need it just now. Perhaps, you are allowing the stress and turmoil of the world’s secular Christmas expectations to get you down. The Bible tells us, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” (Psalm 46:1 ESV) We must all remember that God is working in our circumstances in ways we cannot see and He can make good come out of what is seemingly hopeless.

We need to see that Christmas is part of God’s eternal plan. We may not understand it, but God is working out His purpose for each of us. Christianity teaches that history is headed somewhere and that it is “His-story”. Life has meaning and God rules over it. God is not asleep somewhere, He is watching over us. The Bible says, “For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him.” (2 Chronicles 16:9 ESV)

Hope invaded our world over 2000 years ago in Bethlehem. But, like the shepherds so long ago, we must go and humble ourselves in faith before the Lord Jesus Christ. When we do – “Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.” (1 John 3:2 ESV) There is great hope in what the future holds for the children of God. Hope means better days are coming. Christmas is a declaration of God’s faithfulness. Paul writes to Timothy, “if we are faithless, he remains faithful – for he cannot deny himself.” (2 Timothy 2:13 ESV)

Jesus was actually a very common Jewish name often given in memory of Joshua (Hebrew form of the name Jesus). Jesus (Joshua) means “God is Savior”. Jesus would save people from their sins.

He saves from the guilt of sin by offering His blood as the atonement for sins. (Romans 5:8-9) Jesus also saves us from the power of sin by sending the Holy Spirit to break sin’s dominion through sanctification. (Romans 8:1-2 and 12-14) Only Jesus can save us from the wrath of God to come. This is the hope of Christmas.

The name of Jesus should, therefore, fill us with hope. We may have salvation through this name. Through Jesus we find mercy as He intercedes on our behalf. For us, the name of Jesus is the very hope of Christmas.

Many people think about Jesus during this time of year and are often deeply moved. However, the season passes and soon they are caught up again in the secular pressures of this world. It is sad to see people come so close to the manger only to be distracted and lured away by the things of this passing world. I pray that God will someday place in their hearts the true hope of Christmas.

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