Summary: Three things from Christmas that give us hope.

“After Christmas – Then What?”

December 26, 2010

Matthew 2:12-15

12 And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.

13 When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”

14 So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, 15 where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.”

Christmas is over. Wrapping litters the floor. The kitchen sink is piled high with Christmas dinner dishes. The kids are already breaking some of the new toys. Things are back to normal – right?

Well, not exactly. Things will never be quite the same again - because in the City of David a Savior was born. Things will never be the same again. That magnificent, world changing, happy event is over. In its wake is a let down. The angels are gone. The shepherds have returned to their sheep. The wise men are sneaking home – headed toward where the sun rises. And maybe that is a sign in itself. The event isn’t over. They are not riding into the sunset. They are headed for a new day! But at our house, the Christmas tree is drying out and the fridge is crowded with leftovers.

Depression, discouragement, worry, anxiety, dread, fear – it is all there. We are concerned because of the work to restore the house to normal. Mary was concerned that the king may find them and kill her baby. We are anxious about our coming bills – Joseph and Mary were anxious about settling in a new country. We are discouraged because Christmas wasn’t quite what we had hoped for. Joseph and Mary are discouraged because this event changed their lives. New home, new country – family gone, good thing they got that gold from the Wisemen to pay the bills. We look ahead and see a fist full of bills – and it concerns us. They looked ahead and saw a cross – and it concerned them.

Now what do we do? Well, we just keep on living. We take each day one at a time. We face each obstacle one at a time. And we seize the hope of Christmas. Because of Christmas – we have hope. I’m talking about ‘biblical’ hope. I remember someone commenting in a community meeting one time, that they had the ‘hope of eternal life’. One of the next speakers, showing his ignorance, says, “I don’t ‘hope’ I have eternal life – I KNOW!’.

Well, that sounded good. But hope is not a wish. Hope is an expectation. Specifically, hope is the trusting expectation that God will keep His Word. Hope is trust. Hope is expectation. Because of Christmas we have the expectation of certain things.

First of all, we have hope of Salvation. The angel said,

“She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21

Jesus came to save us from our sins. This is two fold. First, he came to pay the penalty for our sin. The result of sin is death.

“When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.” Colossians 2:13-15

Because of the cradle – we have the cross. Because of the cross – we have the means of forgiveness of our sins. The result of sin is death – but the wonderful gift of God, provided by the precious Gift of His Son, is forgiveness of sin.

Aren’t you glad your sins can be forgiven? What if no one ever forgave or forgot the bad things you did. That would be pretty horrible. Life would be pretty hopeless. But we have hope of forgiveness of sin – because of Christmas.

We also have hope of freedom ‘from’ sin. The angel didn’t say ‘He will save His people ‘in’ their sin.” He said Jesus would save us ‘from’ our sin. That little word makes all the difference in the world. If we could not be free from our sin, we would continue to go on sinning. We could never be free from our addictions. We would be saved – when we die. But we would have to live defeated, miserable, painful lives. Life would be unbearable. But Jesus came to free us from our sins. He came to give us power over sin. He came to liberate us from sin. We are overcomers. We are victors! We are MORE than conquerors. Conquerors defeat the enemy. Friends, you have tremendous power at your command. You have the unleashed forces of heaven available to you. But if you don’t believe it – you won’t use it. Believe the tremendous power available to you as a child of Almighty, omnipotent, God. Because of the cradle and the cross – you have the sure hope of salvation from your sins.

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