Summary: We have hope for life now and for life eternal because of God sending His Son and working out His plan.
A Time for Hope
Advent Conspiracy – Christmas Eve
It’s a Wonderful Life – No hope Video
(Scene beginning at Martini’s Bar to the point right before Clarence jumps in water off the bridge)
Slide after video
Have you ever felt hopeless like George Bailey?
What should be an incredibly joyous time, Christmas, has only compounded all the poor circumstances of life for George.
His life hasn’t turned out the way he was hoping.
Other people’s lives have gotten in the way of what he really wanted to do.
He is working a job that he never really wanted to do, but was kind of thrust upon him when his father passed away and his brother got married.
Now, the economy is tanking, his business is under investigation, and he is missing funds that could end up putting him in jail.
He has a bunch of kids relying on him, his house is not what he hoped for, and the pressures of life have completely overwhelmed him.
In the scene we just watched, he turns to the Lord and instead of his circumstances improving, he gets punched in the face.
He feels like there is no hope at all and the world would be better without him.
Have you ever felt that way?
Maybe you are feeling that way right now.
Maybe you are suffering from a sense of loneliness, like nobody cares about you or for you.
Maybe you are facing financial circumstances that are just overwhelming you right now and there seems like no hope of ever getting back above water.
Maybe you are facing what appears to be impossible relational situations with a spouse or child and feel like there is no hope for things ever getting better.
Maybe you are facing issues in regards to having children and have been trying but with no success and it seems like God is not hearing your prayers.
How you Live
Maybe it isn’t necessarily your circumstances, but it is the way you have lived your life that is making you feel hopeless. You haven’t lived a very exemplary life, to say the least, and you feel that for a person like you there is no hope.
No matter what situation you may be facing tonight, I want to encourage you and let you know there is hope.
The birth of the Son of God into this dark world and the events surrounding His birth has brought great hope to us. This is a Time for Hope.
You may not feel that way right now, but this evening, I want to look at a couple of the situations that surrounded the birth of Christ to help us all to know the hope we have.
Read with me Luke 1:5-15a
This is the story of Zechariah and Elizabeth and the birth of John the Baptist who was to prepare the way for the coming of the Lord. He was born about 5 ½ months before Jesus and was a cousin to Jesus.
Here is the account of how he was conceived.
5 In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron. 6 Both of them were upright in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commandments and regulations blamelessly. 7 But they had no children, because Elizabeth was barren; and they were both well along in years.
8 Once when Zechariah’s division was on duty and he was serving as priest before God, 9 he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to go into the temple of the Lord and burn incense. 10 And when the time for the burning of incense came, all the assembled worshipers were praying outside.
11 Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. 12 When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. 13 But the angel said to him: "Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to give him the name John. 14 He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, 15 for he will be great in the sight of the Lord.
A time for hope slide
Ok, so here is the situation.
Upright - Blameless
The text tells us that Zechariah and Elizabeth are “upright in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commandments and regulations blamelessly.”
They were following after the Lord with all their heart and yet, Elizabeth was barren and now past child bearing age.