A thrill of hope… Is there anything we long for more than this in these days of COVID, political strife, anxiety, and gloom? It was a time not unlike our present 2020, when Jesus came to earth. Just like most of us, His people were worn out. They were weary. They had waited for at least 2000 years to see the promise fulfilled and Messiah come. Not only had it not happened, but they had not heard a voice from GOD through a prophet in at least 400 years!l They felt forgotten! Maybe their hope was an empty one.
But that quiet night on the fields outside of Bethlehem, angels appeared to a group of shepherds announcing the birth of a baby…Christ the Lord. Could it be that He was Messiah? He certainly wasn’t arriving in the way they expected, nor were the announcements of His coming to the expected people.
Shepherds were definitely not in the top 100 groups of people you would invite to a special occasion. Giving birth in a stable? Also not the place you would expect Messiah to be born. When Jesus was older, eventually, some important Magi came from far away to bing gifts, but they weren’t even Jewish! It seemed everything was upside-down and backward.
There have been hard years before, but this one seems to be difficult because everyone seems to be affected…all over the world!
If there has ever been a year that we could identify with those people, this would be the year. We are that weary world. Jesus has come into the world to bring light. He didn’t come to bring a political kingdom as they had thought. His plan was much bigger and grander than that. He came to redeem His people from the power, guilt, and condemnation of sin. It was a freedom they hadn’t thought much about. They definitely hadn’t thought much about what it would cost to free them.
Jesus came to redeem us.
But Jesus thought it all out. He knew that nothing less than His death would be enough to redeem people from sin. Only He, the perfect GOD-man could do it. He had to live a perfect life as a man., But He had to be GOD in order to pay for the sin of an infinite number of people.
He counted the cost and came to do it. He left the comforts and privileges of heaven to come to earth and be limited by time and space for 33 years. Then He died…and three days later? He rose from the dead.
Yes, we have more than the thrill of hope. It is the certainty of a relationship with Jesus and forgiveness and eternity in heaven forever!
No wonder we have a thrill of hope at Christmas…or any other time of year. Our hope is based on who GOD is and what He has promised. He promised to send Jesus to earth. Check. He is described throughout the Bible as good, love, tenderhearted, forgiving, all-wise, eternal, just, etc. When He tells us He will return some day, we can believe Him. So far, He has kept His other promises.
During a year when things have been difficult, at best, we can trust that GOD will keep His promises because He is totally and completely trustworthy by nature. That is truly a reason to have hope as we face the future.
GOD is in charge.
GOD knows what is happening.
He is at work doing His will.
He is our source of hope.
Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
his understanding is unsearchable.
He gives power to the faint,
and to him who has no might he increases strength.
Even youths shall faint and be weary,
and young men shall fall exhausted;
but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint.
Isaiah 40:28-31 ESV