Christmas lights, the smell of the tree in my house, and small hands making sugar cookies—these are things that I love about Christmas. It can be the most wonderful time of the year, yet it can also become frantic and exhausting. Do you have all the gifts? Are you spending too much? Who are you spending the holiday with? Is the family getting along? Will you have time to get everything done?
During the season, the story of Christmas will most likely be told to the children, and you may smile remembering the familiar nostalgia and joy it brings. Yet, in the familiarity, do you forget the indispensable hope that only comes because of Christmas? That nativity with the baby in the manger is not just another story in the Bible, but the heart of provision for your life today.
More than a Christmas wonderland scene, the Christmas story is the crux of God’s rescue plan. The perfect world is broken because of the sin of people a long time ago.. Since then, people have desperately needed something to take away the curse, the coming punishment for the corruption that came from their decisions not to trust, believe, and obey God. In response to their hopeless state, God promised the Satan-Crusher (Gen. 3:15), the Family-Blesser (Gen. 12:2-3), the Truth-telling Prophet (Deut. 18:15), and the Forever-King (2 Sam 7:16). And those are just in the first 10 books of the Bible.
“One is Coming!” Isaiah Proclaimed
To a faithful prophet named Isaiah, God said that this One to come was going to bring the ultimate hope. He was going to be a Savior for all the nations. He wasn’t just for some people. He was for all the people in the world. For them, He would bring justice.
Behold my servant, whom I uphold,
my chosen, in whom my soul delights;
I have put my Spirit upon him; he will bring forth justice to the nations. Isaiah 42:1-2
He was going to save them from their sins. He was going to take their sins for a reason– so that people could be healed and brought peace.
But he was pierced for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his wounds we are healed. Isaiah 53:5
In response to their hopeless state, God promised the Satan-Crusher, the Family-Blesser, the Truth-telling Prophet , and the Forever-King.
He was going to be the Light, the hope in the darkness. He was going to be a son, the Son of God and God Himself. He was going to be the King like David, and he was going to rule.
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light;
those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone.
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end,
on the throne of David and over his kingdom,
to establish it and to uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
from this time forth and forevermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.
Isaiah 9:2, 6-7
Remembering the Hope from the First Christmas
When you read the Christmas story this season, you’ll see a teenage girl living in a foreign-occupied country, waiting for hope. In her country-bumpkin town of Nazareth, she really did see an angel. The angel told her she would have a son who would be the Son of God. He was going to be the King, a king like David. Don’t you think her mind began to spin as the scrolls her father had quoted to her ran through her mind? She wondered in her mind “Isn’t that what Isaiah wrote about?” The One has come.
Then Joseph, her fiancé found out she was pregnant. We imagine his turmoil, until this Nazarene also had an angel come to him; this time in a dream. The baby Mary is going to have is from God. You will name Jesus, and He will save his people from their sins. As he thought about it later, don’t you think the Isaiah scroll was going through his head, as well? The One who would take their sins, so they could be healed. Was this the One?
And you will read about wise men. They had been looking at the stars, trying to understand what God was doing in the world. And they learned that a King they needed to worship was going to be born, so they began to travel to worship Him and give Him gifts. They knew there was a king, the Forever-King who had been promised long ago.
The shepherds are in the story, because angels appeared to them. These low-class, despised shepherds slept in the fields with the sheep, yet the angels came to them and told them that there was incredible life changing news– a baby had been born who was the Savior. And then they told them, He was Christ, the Lord. The baby was the Christ – the Anointed One. He’s the One. He had finally come.
He’s Still Our Hope
The Christmas story isn’t a happy family story about Jesus. It’s the launch of the rescue plan that God had announced to His people. This is the beginning of the costly lifeline thrown to His drowning people. Without Christmas, without the incarnation of God becoming man, we have no cross. We have no resurrection. We have no salvation. It’s only because God Himself entered into creation that we have hope in this world. We desperately needed the One to come.
And He did come. The Satan-Crusher, the Family-Blesser, the Truth-telling Prophet, the King like David, the Savior to the nations, the Rescuer from sin, the Son of God Himself came. That first Christmas, Mary, Joseph, shepherds and wise men saw the Hope of the world resting on that little baby. And the Bible tells us it still does.
The baby was the Christ – the Anointed One. He’s the One. He had finally come.
Your hope rests on that Son. See, He is the answer to the questions: “What is God going to do with this broken world?” “How are you going to fix this, God?” “Do you even care?” The answer is that He had promised One would come, and God Himself came. He came to heal your deepest wounds and bring you into relationship with Himself.
- If you’re distracted by brokenness in your family, can you see that the incarnation in Christmas is God’s answer to bring transformation and healing?
- If you’re grieving the loss of a loved one, do you see that Christmas gives hope for life beyond?
- If estrangement and hurting relationships haunt you, Christmas is God coming after His enemies with offers of reconciliation and forgiveness.
- If worries surround you, the love of God is so great towards you that He entered into His creation as a servant. He will continue to care for you.
If you would rather just think about presents, pretty trees and the best holiday dresses, let me tell you, you are missing something so much greater than those things.
The answer is that He had promised One would come, and God Himself came. He came to heal your deepest wounds and bring you into relationship with Himself.
Long ago, the world was forever changed in a little city with some country folks who had heard from angels. They saw the light of the world enter in. The promises were kept. The One had finally come to meet the deepest need. Your deepest need and mine. May we ignore the hustle and bustle of Christmas and rejoice in our greatest provision of our greatest need.
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Image Credit: Daniel Hoherd, Creative Commons