Week 4 - Hope
by Brent Allen
Christmas is a time to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. Yet, our view of Jesus seems to be mundane due to the repetitive nature and festivities of the holiday. What is there to celebrate? Christmas has been filled with presents for people who bought you presents. It is complicated with the hustle and bustle of traveling to this side of the family and that one. We have completely isolated and ignored the relevance of Jesus Christ’s coming to earth, taking on flesh, and dwelling among us (John 1:14). We have become desensitized to the greatest miracle in the history of the world! How dare we forget that Jesus’ coming was a “plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things” back to God (Ephesians 1:9-10). It is through Jesus Christ that God restores the perfect order of His creation.
I have been a believer for many years. Over those years, I find myself forgetting what I once lived for (this can be good and bad). The days where I chose to walk according to my own desire and enjoy the things that made me feel good, and yet gave me the label “Child of Wrath” (Ephesians 2:1-3). It is sometimes good to look at what you are saved from in order to celebrate what you are saved to. Do you understand the severity of life without Jesus? Scripture reminds us:
Remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
This passage seems to change everything. We were without hope because we were without God in this world! But now! Now Christ has come! He has turned the alienated to a native of God’s people and partaker of the promise of eternal life. Most importantly, He has turned the hopeless into the hopeful. He has taken those who were far away and brought them close. This is why we celebrate. Take a moment to meditate on the importance of Jesus Christ in your own life. Remind yourself of where you were before Christ, and then rejoice in the hope that you now have in Christ.
The birth of Jesus was the start of something spectacular. You see, God had a plan, and this plan was very mysterious but it involved Jesus. God saw that the world was doing things that were bad and wrong, and these bad things by the people made it to where they were separated from God. God did not like this at all. This is where His mysterious plan started. Do you want to know God’s plan? Jesus was born and came to earth in order to unite the people back to God (Ephesians 2:9-10). Without Jesus, all of the bad things that we do would mean we were separated from God forever. You see, the Bible tells us that all of those bad things mean that we are separated from God. But God’s mysterious plan sent Jesus to fix that for us. The Bible says that “while we were still sinners (doing things bad), Christ died for us (reunited us with God)” (Romans 5:8). Without Jesus, we are left on our own. Without Jesus, there is nothing we can do. That seems pretty hopeless. But Jesus fixes that. So when Jesus came, He became our hope to be united back with God.
Imagine all of the lights were out and it was completely dark. You couldn’t see a thing! This symbolizes separation from God. Now say you were asked to walk around and collect certain items. How could you? You can’t see! You would probably do it wrong. That does not sound fun. This symbolizes sin. Now imagine you had a flashlight. This flashlight allows you to see where you are going and what you are doing. This symbolizes Jesus. Without the light, you would seem pretty hopeless. When Jesus came to earth, He was “the light that shines in the darkness” (John 1:5). This symbolizes hope.
God, thank You for Your amazing plan to send Jesus so that we could be reunited with You. We know that Jesus is our only hope and only way to You. Remind us of this hope this year as we celebrate Jesus.