Christmas message is hope

Published 3:10 pm Friday, December 23, 2016

By Larry Stover
Stover lives in Valley Grande and is pastor at Praise Park Ministries Church of the Nazarene

The message of Christmas is “hope!”  When Jesus was born in Bethlehem, it was a signal that the world had now received a new hope for the future.  The angels told the shepherds.  The Shepherds found the Messiah.  They spread the “Good News” everywhere that their “Savior” had been born.  For people who had been walking in darkness, aimlessly searching for the answers to life, Jesus came with a message of hope.

We live in a nation desperately in need of hope.  There seems to be an ever increasing need of food and money as each month comes to a close. Charities have been passing out food and gifts at Christmastime for decades.

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People are reminding me that life seems to be crashing in on them. They are trapped in a system that seems to care little or not at all as to their daily plight of hopelessness.

The headlines of our daily newspapers and the leading stories on news broadcasts continue to reflect the direction of people who have separated themselves from traditional morals or any semblance of ethical behavior. Crimes of murder, robbery and assault create an atmosphere of fear and despair.  Our nation needs hope!

Wouldn’t it be great to wake up free from it all!

Before Jesus was born in Bethlehem Israel was likewise in a hopeless state. God was out of the picture. People were acting on their own apart from any kind of mutual law and order. Some people began to cry out to God remembering Jis promise of a Messiah. The prophet, Isaiah, gave a picture of hope that still ushers in the Advent season every year. We read in chapter nine, “in the future He will honor Galilee of the nations, by the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan — The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned” (vv 1-2). “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. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this” (vv 6-7). Isaiah gave a message of optimism to those people who were willing to look to God to rescue them from the turmoil of their hopelessness. When Jesus came, his message to the children of Israel was that they did not have to go through life feeling frustrated and defeated.

Romans 15:13 is our inspiration as we celebrate Christmas today “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

If you are seeking a life that is worth living with meaning and purpose, Jesus Christ is still the way.  The hope He gives makes life “Simply Beautiful.”