Birth of Hope

Now what?

We have just paused in our year to commemorate the birth of the one we say is King.

Now what?

After that night in the stable, Mary and Joseph still had to tend to the business that had brought them to Bethlehem. Could Mary rest while Joseph reported to the census officials? Did they find a room somewhere for a few days? Or were they faced the next day with a long trip home? We know the shepherds returned to their flocks (although they were telling everyone they met about what had happened), and I’m sure the innkeeper was busy with all his other guests and the constant traffic in and out of the town. Life went back to …busy life.

And today we go on with our daily lives.

Last year, I wrote about our “ruined” Christmas. Through everything that happened, I  caught a glimpse of the real story of Christmas—Christ the Light coming into our darkness and Christ our Hope coming into our hopelessness.

This year, the message of good tidings of great joy that has been with me all month is that Christ the Answer comes into my every day.

Prophecies foretold the destiny of the child who would be born:

For a child is born to us,
a son is given to us.
The government will rest on his shoulders.
And he will be called:
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace
(Isaiah 9:6 NLT).

While those prophecies were given to a nation and spoke of one who would rule on a grand scale, they are also meant on a very personal level for each one who believes God’s promises.

The government will rest on his shoulders. This transforms our view of the world and our own lives. He is the King! Our allegiance is to one who has authority over all of heaven and earth. Our lives go far beyond earthly realms, worldly principles, and political systems. Our King rules all!

He is Wonderful Counselor. We jump from recognition that the universe is under our King’s command to this comfort of a very personal, intimate relationship with the King. He knows us, through and through. He holds all wisdom and truth. His counsel can be trusted to be wise and loving. Don’t we all need just such a Counselor?

He is Mighty God. I need a mighty God. I need to know that I can trust in something mightier than human effort and influence. I need to know my God goes beyond all natural, social, and political “laws” I observe at work in this world. I need to worship Someone greater than our own man-made idols.  

He is Everlasting Father. I just finished a novel that won a Pulitzer Prize. I read as a writer; that is, I was fascinated at the skillful techniques the author used, especially to develop characters. Yet I finished the book feeling unsatisfied and flat. Why? Because the book held so little hope. There was not even a whisper of God. Characters grew old and some died. And what hope did they find in life? Only a greater “self-awareness.” Sorry, that’s not enough for me. I need eternal and everlasting. I need hope in a loving God who says “Come to me, and I’ll give you life. All of life, as I intended you to have when I birthed you.”

He is Prince of Peace. Whether it’s on a world-wide scale or private and personal, we all crave peace. Jesus said, “I give it to you.” The world knows nothing of peace—not how to create it, give it, or maintain it. The Prince of Peace holds the key, He is the only Way, to the peace we all seek.

And so this Christmas season, the old prophecies have rung in my ears to tell me this baby born in a stable came to bring me everything I need, every day of my life.

Another of God’s promises concerning Jesus is that He is “a precious cornerstone that is safe to build on. Whoever believes need never be shaken (Isaiah 28:16).”

Good tidings of great joy! We have a precious cornerstone on which to build our lives, and we need never be shaken.

That birth in Bethlehem was the birth of hope for all of us.

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