Christmas: Love Came Down

Part 1: Hope

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Hope is powerful. Where there is hope, there is life. Think about all the places where you place your hope? “I hope to see my family. I hope I get this job. I hope this deal comes through. I hope there is a vaccine.” Yet, God wants us to place our ultimate hope and trust in Him. God always comes through. Everything in this world will fade away, but God lasts forever. Let’s place our hope firmly in Him. God is with us and He is for us. May we always be people of Hope and may we share Hope with others today as we live in a world desperate for Hope. Jesus is our Hope!


Expectant for the Messiah

As a child, do you remember the feeling of the Christmas season? You have the Christmas tree set up in your home, with presents slowly piling up over the month of December. Every day leading up to Christmas, the hope, the anticipation, the waiting to see what you’re going to receive as a gift this year. Even when we get older, the expectancy for Christmas Day is something that we all look forward to each year. This most wonderful time of the year brings family and friends together, celebrating and remembering Christ’s birth.

Now, think of that feeling that kids have as they look forward to Christmas morning and that we all have as we look forward to the Christmas season. This same feeling, but on a much larger scale, is how the world felt as they waited in expectation for the birth of the Messiah. He was coming – they knew it – but they didn’t know when. They had to trust God’s promise that the Savior was coming, and He would bring hope and peace and salvation.

It was in this hopeful expectation that Luke began his orderly historical account of these times. Starting in the first chapter, he tells the story of Zechariah and Elizabeth, who, too, were waiting for the promise of a Savior to be fulfilled. Not only that, but they also had no children of their own. Hoping and praying, they waited for God to answer their prayers, trusting that, regardless of the outcome or answer to their prayers, God was listening.

Just as Zechariah’s name means, we know that the Lord keeps His promises. He listened to the prayers of Zechariah and Elizabeth, and he had been listening to the prayers of His people for hundreds of years prior. And finally, after years of longing and waiting, Hope entered the world.

What the Bible Says about Hope

In this first chapter of Luke, we read about Zechariah and Elizabeth’s story, and how they prayed and prayed for a child. Years later, God sends an angel to tell Zechariah that his wife will become pregnant and have a child. This child, their answered prayer, will be the one who will prepare the world for the coming Messiah. Even though Zechariah doubted at first, he and Elizabeth trusted this promise, and, because of their faithfulness, they were able to bear a son, who would later become John the Baptist. Luke 1:13 shares what the angel Gabriel tells Zechariah; he says, Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard. Amidst their questions and their waiting, God sends Gabriel to tell them that their prayers have been answered, and they will be fulfilled. 

That doesn’t always mean that He will answer “yes” to our prayers. Sometimes, like He answered Zechariah and Elizabeth’s prayers for some time, God will answer “wait.” We see God answering His people’s prayers with “wait” time and time again – like He did with the people of Israel entering the Promised Land and with the coming of the Messiah. However, that’s what faith is – trusting God and having confidence that He will come through and move according to His will and His plan, even if His answer is “wait” or even “no.” God hears our prayers but will answer them according to what is our very best and what is for His glory. 

Where is your hope today?

Like Zechariah and Elizabeth, you may have a prayer that you’ve been praying for some time – weeks, months, maybe even years. However, this is what it means to have hope. In our waiting, we, first, must stay faithful to God. Though it may be difficult, we must not quit or get mad at God. Rather, we can wait in hope, not letting any problem or disappointment take away our praise. 

Secondly, we must trust that God always answers our prayers. He hears us, and even if the answer is “wait” or “no,” we can still trust Him. God can handle our questions and our deepest fears, but He calls us to trust that He is sovereign over all. He calls us to cling to hope over anything else.

We may put our hope in many different things on earth, but, ultimately, our hope must be placed firmly in God. God sent His Son, Jesus, to earth to bring true Hope to us – the only Hope that will not let us down. True Love and Hope came down to earth as a baby boy, and it’s in Him alone that we should be putting our hope. Where is your hope today? Is it in something or someone in this world? Or is it in our Messiah?

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