Hope – The Message of Christmas

Do you have hope?  

Is there joy in your life? 

Are you looking at the Christmas season with dread? 

Do you wonder if you will make it through?

Will there be anything to celebrate? 

Will there be money for gifts and parties?

Do you have hope?

Hope is the message of Christmas!  God recognized our sin, our pain, our hurts, our separation from Him and in an act of love so overwhelming sent His son to earth to give us hope.  Hope of restoring a relationship with God the Creator, the Almighty, the source of joy and love.  This hope is incredible it can’t be ignored – instead we are given a choice to accept it or reject it. 

With acceptance comes joy, peace, love and the understanding that we are now a part of the Kingdom of God, part of a community of believers that look out for each other and for the interests of God.  You have a sence of purpose, direction and belonging.  You don’t have to make it on your own.  You now have the power of God acting on your behalf. 

With rejection come the knowledge that we make our own way, by ourselves with no help, no one to make us stronger or better or give us purpose outside of what we define for ourselves.  With rejection, you deny God – and can make no claim on His peace, hope and joy.

So what is the message of hope?   What is this joy that is shared each Chrismas?  It begins with “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son…”  God gave His son Jesus Christ!  God sent the Son of God to be born of a virgin, Mary through the power of the Holy Spirit, a prophecy fulfilled from Isaiah. 

An angel announced the news to Mary.  She would be with child and would have a son.  His name was to be Jesus, for He would save the people from their sins [another prophecy from Isaiah].  So Mary gave birth to this Son in a town called Bethlehem.  What a glorious day!  The angels celebrated His birth making the announcement to the shepherds on the Hill.  Shepherds, who cared for the sheep to be used for the temple sacrifices, came to worship this new born child, the one who would ultimately be the final sacrifice for sin!  King makers or Magi, came from the east, following a star – set in the sky to guide them to this new King.  Imagine the surprise in Jerusalem when these Magi appear to celebrate the birth of the new king… and there isn’t a new child at the palace!  Prophecy would lead them to Bethlehem to worship and bring gifts to the child. 

Jesus was raised by Mary and his step father, Joseph.  The boy grew to be a man.  At age 30, Jesus began His ministry to the nation of Israel.  His message clear and simple:  Repent!  For the Kingdom of God is at hand!

Jesus was born to save us from our sins – the things we do wrong, the hurts we cause – but He died to make that salvation a fact.  Jesus, who was perfect in every way, the very Son of God, allowed Himself to be crucified on a cross for our sins.  Death is the wages of sin and that wage had to be paid.  By dying Jesus took that wage on himself, allowing us to escape the ultimate death – eternal separation from God. 

“…That whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life” John 3:16 — To accept the sacrifice of Jesus, you must first believe that He came, that He is the Son of God and that He can save you.  You must confess Jesus as Lord (Rom 10:9).  Then you need to repent, say you are sorry for your actions with the decision that you will turn away from them.  Next you must receive this gift.  To do this, you are baptized (immersed) into water, why? To receive forgiveness for sins and to receive the Holy Spirit in you to help you. (Acts 2:38). Finally, you need to live a life of obedience to God, learning all that He would teach you and surely Jesus will be with you to the end of the age(Mattew 28:18-20).

That is HOPE! 

If you would like more information, or would like to ask a question about a spiritual issue, please feel free to e-mail our pastor Matt Showalter at meshow@aol.com or call him to set up an appoint ment at 928-772-7364.

May God richly bless you through the Hope of His Son, Jesus Christ!  We hope you have a better understanding of why we as Christians say Merry Christmas!  For this truly is a time to be merry and see the joy of Christ shared with all.

Merry Christmas!