Summary: Christmas in one word is hope. That hope is Jesus Christ.
The God of hope
This morning we are in the last Sunday before Christmas.
Tomorrow, we celebrate Christmas Eve by a candlelight service. Then everyone prepares for the big day.
If you had to describe Christmas with one word, what would it be?
Take away anticipation and hope- what would you have left?
You would soon realize what was left was eating and opening presents,
Both of which gets old after awhile and is soon forgotten.
Hope by definition is the emotional state which promotes the belief in a positive outcome related to events and circumstances in one’s life.
Despair is the opposite of hope.
Despair in its noun form is complete loss or absence of hope.
“Despair is the price one pays for setting oneself an impossible aim.”
Without hope life would be dreadful!
Life becomes meaningless.
We are quick to read the Christmas Story in the Bible Luke chapter 2.
I want you to see a message of hope contained in the tail end of the Christmas story found in Luke 2:36-38.
“There was also a prophetess Anna, the daughter of Phanael, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after their marriage, and then was a widow until she was 84. She never left the Temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying, coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.”
Here was a young married girl widowed at an early age.
Now a senior adult 84 years old living in hope.
Oh, the word hope is not there, but the concept of hope is.
She was living and waiting to meet Jesus, who represented hope for God’s people.
Recorded words of Simeon the high priest- 2:25-
“Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. (26) It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.”
I love his words as God’s promise was fulfilled- Mary and Joseph standing before him with 8 day old Jesus.
(30) “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.”
I. God is hope-
God’s hope is based upon God’s promises, not feelings, not the words of others.
The world’s hope is in many things
Our jobs, our health.
All these things are necessary, but all these things can be gone in an instant.
God’s people put their hope in the God of hope.
God’s hope never ends
God’s hope is eternal.
God’s hope is not based upon what others do.
Someone has said that “you cannot break God’s promises by leaning on them.”
In Newtown Ct., in the lives of those that suffer loss, it is not about presents, it is about finding hope in a dark situation.
Jesus is that hope!
He is the anchor of our souls
Lee Strobel- a senior pastor wrote a book entitled “the case for Christmas” Before he was a pastor, he was a reporter and he enjoyed tearing down Christmas, and he enjoyed trying to disprove the works of Jesus Christ. Then a funny thing happened! He met Jesus; he had an encounter with Jesus. He wrote the book “Case for Christmas” to show after investigation that the baby in the manger was indeed the Christ-child. He went on to write another book called the case for Christ to prove that Jesus of Nazareth was indeed the Son of God.
II. God can be our hope
God is hope- that is a fact. He offers Himself to be our hope.
Listen again to the shepherds account out in the field.
The shepherds were out in the field doing their thing- watching sheep! Doing their job!
The ordinary just got extra-ordinary.
In the black of the night, an angel lights up the sky with a heavenly announcement of good news.
Today, a savior has been born to you. He is Christ the Lord.
The news is announced and the sky is lit up with a heavenly choir breaking out in song and praise. Can you imagine?
Glory to God in the highest- (heaven where God dwells)
Proclaiming peace- they were experiencing external peace because of Roman power. The angel’s were proclaiming internal peace that can only come from God.
The angels recognized what had just happened! The God of hope had just come to mankind.
The majesty of God has been revealed- doubts were erased, fears were defeated and they enjoyed the presence of Almighty God.