Christmas is upon us and at times it is easy to forget the true meaning of this special day--Hope is given to us through Jesus. As we reflect upon the responses of Mary and Zechariah as recorded in Luke 1:46-80, we see a common thread of God's grace and mercy woven through the fabrics of their lives...Hope is coming. Hope is given to the Individual as reflected in Mary's Magnificat where she exclaims her soul, her spirit rejoices in God her Savior for all things He has done and as a result, she records herself as a "bondslave" to God--bought and purchased for His will--and she embraces this! Hope is given to the People as recorded in Zechariah's prophecy whereby he confidently asserts "redemption is accomplished for His people..." and therefore God's people (all those who fear Him) can stand in confidence because a transaction will take place (death of God's only Son) to pay an eternal debt we could not afford to pay--"For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast." (Eph 2:4-9) Finally, Hope is given to the hopeless whereby God's mercy and forgiveness will "...shine upon those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, To guide our feet into the way of peace.” Even in Israel's rebellion as a nation, Isaiah prophesied of this coming hope that even in the midst of one's sins, God does not abandon His people.
Decisions have consequences and sometimes you and I make foolish decisions and as a result we live out the consequences and the enemy tries to steal our hope and pressures us to find our identity in our past mistakes rather than God's gift of His Son Jesus--the culmination of hope. As we will see in the coming blogs, the only way to "receive this Baby in a manger" is to humble ourselves, cry out to God for forgiveness of our rebellion toward Him and embrace the hope given unto us Christmas morning. Have you received this Hope?