But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.1
Advent is the season of waiting and expectation that leads up to Christmas Day. During that time many churches pause to remember all that Christmas meant and all that it still means. One of the meanings of Christmas for followers of Jesus is the presence of hope.
First century church planter Paul wrote the words above to remind the people living in Galatia that the time they had all been waiting for had come. In a small town, a small baby was born as the Old Testament Scriptures had foretold. That fragile baby brought with him unbreakable hope for all of humankind. Our deepest hope that somehow we are not alone, was fully and forever confirmed. While our sins are great, God’s mercy once again proved to be greater. God had come to earth to be with us.
God’s people had waited for that day for hundreds of years. They waited in hope that God would do as He promised. People love to twist the Bible to make it promise things that it never intended. Flip through its pages all you like, there are no promises of earthly wealth. We are not promised health or a life free of conflict. We are not even promised our next breath, regardless of how closely we try to follow its teachings. But, God did promise to never leave us alone. In Jesus, He promised to be everything we couldn’t be ourselves. That promise brings with it unsinkable hope.
Today we wait, much like the people we read about in the Old Testament. During his short stay on earth, Jesus promised that He would return to earth again one day at which time everything would be set right. No more sorrow. No more wars. No more poverty. All of the misery that we inflict on others and on ourselves will be broken. That’s the hope that we live in. Our hope is in Christ who kept his promise over 2000 years ago, and who we believe will keep his promise to return to us again.
This Christmas season, our hope is also that Jesus would visit our hearts in new ways. Hope is essential to our lives as Christians. May we all maintain our hope in the God who is with us, Emmanuel.
1 - Galatians 4:4-5 (ESV)