It’s a story that is so spectacular and so enthralling, it captures the imagination of all people. No matter the age, time in history, or cultural background, people have been awed by the Christmas story.
Not just because it is the greatest story ever, but because it is true. That sweet baby lying in a manger is God’s answer to the brokenness and sin that has plagued humanity ever since our rebellion began. Jesus came to do what none of us could do. God came down and became one of us, so he could live like us, die for us, and live again with us. Christmas is God’s solution to our deepest struggles. As the angels announced at Jesus birth, this is “good news of great joy” for all of us (Luke 2:10).
But, here’s the catch. Christmas is all about waiting. This season is historically known as Advent, which means “coming.” Christmas is the celebration of Jesus’ first coming or arrival. But, his arrival was not without waiting. In fact, God made a promise to Adam and Eve that one of their children would crush Satan (Genesis 3:15). And God made promises to Israel about a coming Messiah-King who would rescue his people (Isaiah 9:1-7).
But, after hundreds of years, God’s people were still waiting. Promises were made, but were not yet fulfilled. God invited his people not just to wait, but to wait with hope.
Hope is eager expectation. Hope is waiting with the assurance that what one is waiting for will one day come true. The arrival of Jesus at Christmas is the fulfillment of hope. We celebrate God’s faithfulness and goodness. We are reminded that God will always come through on his promises.
And yet, here we are, two thousand years later, and we are still waiting. Waiting for Jesus’ second coming. Life is still hard. We struggle with relational wounds, disease, family strife, financial hardships, depression, abuse, loss of loved ones. To be honest, this past week has been really painful for our church family. We lost a dearly beloved church member, another church member experienced a miscarriage, and another lost their newborn grandchild to a rare heart disease.
We find ourselves asking the same question as God’s people did so long ago. Will God fulfill his promises? Can God’s light shine in this darkness? Can we still have hope?
Advent is meant to stoke the flames of hope in our hearts once again. No matter what is going on externally or internally, we seek to fix our hearts on the incredible gift of Jesus. We know that Jesus doesn’t take away the pain, but he does promise that our pain will not be wasted. And we find comfort in the fact that he is sympathetic to our suffering because he endured the worst of this world’s darkness. But even more important, he has promised us that the light of his life can dispel our darkness. He has defeated sin and death through his resurrection. We now have an unshakable hope in the second coming of Jesus, where he will wipe away every tear and make all things new (Revelation 21:5).
This is the hope of Christmas. And this hope sustains us in the midst of our pain and sorrow. Not only that, this hope gives us joy. The joy of walking with God now and the joy of seeing him face-to-face soon.
This is the power of hope.