The Thrill of Hope

In the days leading up to Christmas, it is easy to get weary to the point of just being tired of it all.  Shopping, activities and family obligations can all lead to a lot of stress.  Leading up to Jesus’ birth, the nation of Israel was weary too.  The prophets had previously said that because of their lack of faith, their nation was finished (see Isaiah 1:2 and Amos 9:8), but the prophets also gave Israel a message of hope.  Daniel 2:44 states God will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed and Zechariah 14:9 says there will be one Lord who is King over all the earth.

Israel had been living in exile in Babylon, but when the Persians conquered the area, the Israelites were allowed to return to Jerusalem and begin rebuilding and to restore their worship.  They believed that if they led faithful lives, God would usher in the new kingdom He had promised.  They waited for 500 years, but nothing happened.  They were now under Roman power and they became weary.

Then, something did happen.  Jesus was born.  Luke 2:1-7: In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world.  (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

This baby was literally the Word of God and God’s action.  John 1:1-5, 14 states that in the beginning there was the Word, the Word was with God and the Word was God.  Through Him all things were made and the Word became flesh and dwelled among us.

The second chapter of Luke goes on to describe that an angel appeared to nearby shepherds, bringing them the good news that a Savior had been born.  This was good news for all people, not just the strict Jewish observers.

Even though we may be weary, the world is still good because that is how God created it to be.  It is something worth fighting for.  What things have we grown weary of and are we ready to fight for them?  I will blog about my answer later this week.  John 1:11-12 says that He came to His own (the Jews), but they did not receive Him.  To those who believed, He gave them the right to be the children of God.  Jesus knew that it wouldn’t always work, but He came anyway.

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