As I looked at my calendar this morning, I realized Christmas is less than a week away. After I got over the initial panic, I started thinking about the significance of this holiday. Christmas is the day we celebrate the moment when the world was introduced to Jesus Christ. As I've been thinking about that, I've been pondering what life was like for God's people before Jesus came. I imagine that, in many ways, God seemed distant to His followers. He was kept in the Holy of Holies in the temple, accessible only to the high priests. That meant worshipers had to make their offerings and then leave, wondering whether or not their sacrifices were acceptable. This uncertainty must have created moments of doubt about their salvation.
Christ's birth began the process of changing all of that. His birth brought with it a hope that the world had not known before, because through His life, death, and resurrection we can have a relationship with God. The barriers are gone, and we have access to the most Holy God. That brings with it confidence and hope - confidence in our salvation, and hope for the provision of all we need to live this life. Romans 8:32 puts it like this, "Since God did not spare even His own Son, but gave Him up for us all, won’t God, who gave us Christ, also give us everything else?" God cared enough to send His Son to die for us, but that's not where His care for us ends - He also cares enough to sustain us.
So Jesus is hope for the person out of work, for the struggling single mother, and for the dying believer. He's even the hope we need for going through the everyday ups and downs of life. That's a lot of what we celebrate at Christmas. It's an opportunity for us to renew our hope, and through that renewal, have our vision refreshed and our passion for God re-ignited.
So today, as we rush through all the preparations for Christmas, let's take time to get quiet with God and ask Him to renew our hope. Let's ask Him to remind us of all that He's done for us already, and all that He promises to do. Let's rejoice in the fact that Christ was born.