The theme of hope has been continually brought to my attention this Christmas, especially through the music. I began to think about how Christmas is blanketed by the “happiest time of the year” and how that is not always true, as life happens. In the Old Testament starting in Ruth, the term hope is first introduced when Ruth essentially said she had no hope. The rest of the Old Testament has the theme of longing for and needing hope. And between the Old Testament and New Testament, there’s 400 years where God remains silent.
Therefore say to them, Thus says the Lord GOD: None of my words will be delayed any longer, but the word that I speak will be performed, declares the Lord GOD. — Ezekiel 12:28
Guess what? God always provides and fulfills His promises. Christmas is the fulfillment of God’s promise of hope, foretold nearly 1000 years earlier in Isaiah:
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. — Isaiah 7:14
Hope was given to us in the form a baby who was born in a barn with hay and animals, the most humble entrance for a King. As “Hope Was Born This Night” by Sidewalk Prophets says in the chorus, “Glory to God in the highest / Peace on Earth, good will to all men / Let all of the world sing the chorus of joy / Because hope was born this night” ^. When Christ was born, hope was restored. With that restoration and reassurance of God’s promises through the Savior’s birth, future generations can have peace. We can have peace knowing that Immanuel, God with us, was sent to this earth to teach us and show us God’s mercy, love, kindness and ultimately forgiveness by Jesus’ death on the cross for our sins. This peace, which is so often spoke of and sang about at Christmas time, is freely given to us through faith.
“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” — John 16:33
This peace leads us to joy. We can have joy knowing that we are saved through faith by the redeeming power of God’s love displayed on the cross. We can have joy knowing that Christ will come again for those who are waiting in hope for him.
so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him. — Hebrews 9:28
^ Sidewalk Prophets. “Hope Was Born This Night.” Merry Christmas to You, Fervent Records, 2013.