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Summary: How the coming of the Christ Child brings hope to the World.

There are four stages to life:

a) When one believes in Santa Claus.

b) When one doesn’t believe in Santa Claus.

c) When one plays Santa Claus and finally,

d) When one looks like Santa Claus

We chuckle but there is enough truth to this to temper our humour. Some day most of us are going to look something like St. Nick. We are growing older. That’s what sobers us.

Just recently I heard Canadian author, Douglas Copeland tell that when he was researching for one of his books he interviewed 100 programmers at Microsoft outside of Seattle. He wanted to find out their ideas about life after death. Now remember, they are among the most brilliant minds in North America. As it turns out, not one, NOT ONE of them had any suggestions of what might be after death.Yet, most of us can’t live with the idea that there is nothing after this life. That’s why what happened in Bethlehem 2,000 years ago is so important. It gives us hope. Hope in the midst of the most devastating thing we face in life: death.

Looking forward to the coming of the Christ Child the old prophet Isaiah said, “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death.”

There is light at the end of the tunnel.

There is hope beyond the grave. We are the people living in the land of the shadow of death. Almost weekly we are reminded that we live in the shadowlands. Let me give you a couple of examples:

Just last week a family were stopped at a red light on McLeod Trail minding their own business when all of sudden a drunk driver in a truck smashed them all out into eternity. And it can happen to anyone. We all live in the land of the shadow of death.

Recently a massive comet hit Jupiter. Perhaps the most watched astronomical phenomena in history. If that same comet had hit the Earth it is questionable whether any of us would be here tonight. Russell Chandler in his startling book “Doomsday” makes the point that the skies are not all that friendly. Chandler sites several ‘near misses’ in this century. I’ll just mention two:

• On August 10, 1972, a fireball the size of a small house passed over Grand Teton National Park. The slightest change of orbit might have sent the asteroid crashing down on a great city with an explosive force five times that of the bomb that decimated Hiroshima.

• On March 23, 1989, a half-mile wide asteroid flew through Earth’s path at forty-six thousand miles an hour. Nobody saw it coming. A scientific team convened by the US Congress a year later noted that ‘the Earth had been at that point only six hours earlier. Had it struck the Earth, it would have caused a disaster unprecedented in human history.’

We live in the land of the shadow of death. But the Good News it that there is hope. There is hope for our planet. There is hope for us.

1. There is hope for this earth. Jesus taught in the Sermon on the Mount that the meek shall inherit the earth. There must be an Earth for the meek to inherit. You can be sure that God is not going to give the righteous a planet that is blasted by asteroids and dying of toxins. There is hope for this sick globe. The Bible talks about the Restoration of all things. God is going to put our Home through a massive Dry Cleaning job. He is going to restore the Planet to its pristine condition. This planet will be Paradise once more.

There is hope for the Earth because Jesus came. There is also hope for us.

When Baby Jesus was only eight days old his parents took him to church. An old man by the name of Simeon walk up to the young couple with the Baby and took the child in his arms and said:

My eyes have seen your salvation, O Lord. A light for revelation to all people.

Salvation – your salvation, my salvation is wrapped up in this little Baby. Not in Mary, Not in a certain religion. Not in some tradition. But in the Christ Child. He is our Saviour. And all of us need to be saved from something.

We all have weaknesses. Sins. Shortcoming. Things we do we know are wrong. Anger. Greed. Lust. Pride. All the things God says break relationships. We need help to rise above our humanness. We need to be saved.

And that’s why Jesus came: To save us from our sins. And to save us from our fears. And for most of us our biggest fear is death.

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