I would like to believe that the blissful feeling that comes with Christmas draws from a deeper place than the things we have come to associate it with nowadays: it comes from a place of hope.
From the moment man tragically fell into sin, driving a wedge between him and God, after briefly enjoying Paradise with his Creator in Eden, God had promised to send a Savior who would crush the enemy of both God and man (Genesis 3:14-15). For hundreds and thousands of years since then, Israel held out in hope for the Messiah’s coming, and God kept their hope alive with His word many, many times through the prophets, including the following:
“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come or me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.”
“The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:2,6)
True to His promise, God sent the Messiah, our Savior Jesus: “She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21)
For this reason, we celebrate His coming every year at Christmas. For those who have come to know Jesus Christ personally, this celebration is daily, as we come to realize what He is saving us from: the brokenness of this world we know all too well – the tragic reality of death and grief all around, the extent of man’s wickedness without subjecting himself to God’s rule and the anguish it creates, the reality of a broken creation itself groaning to be set free, the utter loneliness of sensing that we were made for more than this. To those who put their faith in Him, Jesus has secured for us on the cross what no one else could: our pardon from sin, a restored relationship with God, the promise of eternal life from the time we put our faith in Christ until after our time in this world – when all is put right with Him in heaven.
God came through with His promise. He sent the Savior. He lived among us and laid down His life on the cross for our pardon and to experience new, abundant, eternal life. Read the words of life from our Savior Himself:
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. (John 3:16-18)
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they might have life and have it abundantly. (John 10:10)
And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. (John 17:3)
As we await His return, Jesus keeps us looking forward in hope:
And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. (John 14:3).
And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” (Revelation 21:5
And hope is not just a wish; for “Biblical hope not only desires something good for the future – it expects it to happen.” (“What is Hope?” by John Piper, desiringgod.org)
Do you feel hopeless? Put your hope in God and in His promises. Through prayer, invite Christ to be your Savior, and the promises of God to those who put their trust in Him will be yours as well.
Or did you once put your faith in Christ, but now feel hopeless? It might be that the brokenness of life in this world has disquieted your soul. Read up on God’s word and be reminded of His promises – and put your hope in God. (Psalm 42:5)
May the Hope of Christmas be real to you, all the more now than ever.
Michelle Joaquin is the editor-in-chief of Familywise Asia and is wife to Boris and mom to daughters Ysobel, 18, and Julia, 12.