Summary: The word, "nativity" comes from the Latin word meaning, "to be born". But on that day it wasn't just about who was born, but also what was born. There were four things that came with the arrival of Jesus. Today we'll look at the first two-hope and peace.
INTRODUCTION: The word, "nativity" comes from the Latin word meaning, "to be born". And if I were to ask you, who was born you would all answer, "Jesus". But on that blessed day it wasn't just about who was born, but also what was born. I'll be talking about four things that came with the arrival of Jesus. Today we'll look at the first two-hope and peace.
1) Hope was born on Christmas Day. [video clip]
Psalm 119:81, "My soul faints with longing for your salvation, but I have put my hope in your word."
Have you ever had a longing for something? Something that was coming that seemed almost agonizing to have to be patient about? For kids that's Christmas morning. When the month of December comes the countdown begins. As it gets closer the excitement builds but so does the impatience. And then the day comes and you realize it was all worth the wait.
One of the reasons the book of Psalms is appealing is because many of them are so deeply emotional. They describe people crying out to God from the depths of their heart. Here we have the Psalmist telling God how he longs for his deliverance; how he longs for salvation to come. In context, he was mainly referring to deliverance from his enemies but prophetically it pertains to looking forward to the coming of the Messiah; the savior the prophets of the Psalmist's day told about.
I believe the Psalmist was hopeful for both types of deliverance. In a time of despair and attack the Psalmist could think about the words of the prophets and wonder when hope would arrive for he and his people. His soul is in anguish as he deals with the heartache of another attack and it causes him to think of how wonderful it will be when salvation comes. His hope is in God's promise of deliverance; his hope is in the truth of God's word coming to pass.
Prov. 13:12, "Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life."
Deferred means delayed. To be clear, God's hope was not delayed, the coming of Jesus was in God's perfect timing although to the people of the OT I'm sure it felt like it was being delayed. But when the fulfillment of that longing came it certainly was a tree of life because the coming of Jesus was the coming of life and the promise of eternal life for those who would believe on him for salvation.
The prophets spoke about the coming of Jesus and they looked forward to his coming. Since the last prophet until Jesus' birth 400 years had passed-an obviously long time of silence. But then, Jesus, the fulfillment of the promise, the hope for all mankind was born.
There was a devout man named Simeon who was among those who were waiting for the deliverance to appear. The Holy Spirit had revealed to him that he would not die before seeing Jesus. So when Joseph and Mary brought baby Jesus to the temple, the Holy Spirit moved Simeon to go to where they were. When they approached Simeon took Jesus into his arms and praised God.
This is what he said Luke 2:29-30, "Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the gentiles and for glory to your people Israel."
Hope had arrived; salvation had come. Simeon could rejoice in the fulfillment of the promise. The long-awaited desire to see the coming of the Lord had finally happened. Not only could Simeon rejoice but we too, have this hope of redemption. When we find salvation through Christ we rejoice as Simeon did. We rejoice in the hope that was revealed when Jesus came to earth to be Immanuel but we also rejoice as we wait patiently for the glory of God to be revealed again when Jesus returns.
Interestingly, as the people of the OT eagerly waited in anticipation for the coming of Jesus, we are eagerly waiting too-for the second coming of Jesus. We have to be patient like those in Old Testament times had to be patient. And as sometimes the waiting was painful for them (especially when times were tough), the waiting can be painful for us too.
Rom. 8:23-25, "Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently."