TITLE: Christmas A Time Of Hope
By Jim Oates
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Christmas is a time when we celebrate the fulfillment of God’s promise to our mother Eve and Abraham along with many other great prophets in the Old Testament. It is the expression of God’s love, to every person who ever lived and who is yet to be born.
In John 3:16, Jesus said, “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
We often greet each other with, “Merry Christmas.” What kind of a greeting is this? What do we mean by this?
The meaning of the word Merry means; joyous, mirthful, slightly tipsy, make merry, be festive or full of fun.
It seems, the whole world celebrates Christmas in some fashion or other. It seems like the most festive merry making is done by people who do not even know the Christ; whose birthday it is. Gifts are given to almost everyone except to the one whose birthday we are celebrating. In many cases, Jesus, the birthday child, is not allowed to attend His own birthday party.
God wants us to celebrate His love for all the people of the world, which was expressed in the gift of His Son Jesus. As John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” As Christians, I believe we have every reason to celebrate Christmas.
Billy Graham expressed it this way, “God planned to give us something very special so that we could gain eternal life. These Christmas season, rejoice in the special gift of God’s Son.”
Besides the love of God, Jesus brings to us the gift of hope. Romans 15:13 says “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
The society we live in today has made it a priority at this time of year to give and get. Our children are taught to expect bigger and better things each year. In many neighbourhoods there seems to be a competition to see who has the most beautifully decorated home. It makes me wonder just what all of this has to do with the Son of God coming into the world to save His people from their sins.
In Matthew 1:21, The Angel of the Lord said, “You are to give Him the name, Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins.” As we think of Christmas this year and the gifts that we will give and receive, let us think of the gifts that the Father has given to us.
(1) He’s given to us, life and all the necessities of life.
(2)He’s given to us, love, and companionship and joys that come with a lifetime commitment.
(3) Not only has He given us life and love to sustain us now but also God has extended them beyond the limits of this world into eternity. There, we will be with Him and our Saviour forever.
(4 & 5) He has given to us, Truth, which is His Word, and Light, which is understanding. In John 14:6, Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” In another place He said, that He is the light of the world.
(6) He has given to us Hope, hope of things to come, in this world and in the next.
(7)He has given to us, Faith, faith to believe that all His promises to us will come to pass. Hebrews 11: 1, says, “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”
God has given to us a hope that has freed us from the emptiness of not knowing who we are, in a world that is without hope. That emptiness has caused many people to attempt to fill that void with meaningless merry making.
The hope that Jesus brought into the world, is freedom from sin. When the Angel of the Lord appeared to Mary and Joseph, he said that Mary would give birth to a son, and that they were to name Him Jesus because He will save His people from their sins.
Titus 2:13 -14 says, “We wait for the blessed hope, the glorious appearing of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ, Who gave Himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for Himself, a people that are His very own, and eager to do what is good.”
Colossians 1:5 says, “Faith and love spring from the hope that is stored up for us in Heaven.” In addition, in verse 27, it says, “Christ in you the hope of glory.”
We have so much to celebrate at Christmas; He has given to us a joy that is far greater than all the merry making, can give us.
In John 15: 9-11, Jesus said, “As the Father has loved Me, so I have loved you. Now remain in My love. If you obey My commands, you will remain in My love, just as I have obeyed My Father’s commands and remain in His love. I have told you this so that My joy may be in you and your joy may be complete.
In Titus 3:7, the apostle Paul says, ”so that having been justified by His grace, we might become heirs, having the hope of eternal life.
1 Peter 1:3 - 5 tells us, “Praise be God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a Living Hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade, kept in Heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.”
In Romans 15:13, Paul says, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
As we enter the New Year, we can carry the hope with us that God brought into the world so many years ago on that first Christmas morning.
The hope that He will never leave us nor forsake us.
The hope that He will provide for all our needs.
The hope that we will spend eternity with him.
The hope that we will see our loved ones again.
This hope is based on our faith in what Jesus did on the cross to save us from our sins. If we put all our hope and faith in Him then all the joy and peace provided by Jesus through the Holy Spirit, can be ours. All through the coming year and all the years, that God has planned for us.
Let us make a difference this year. With Jesus in Christmas and in our hearts, we can have a truly Merry and Blessed Christmas.
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