Jesus our Hope is born

“The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!” (Luke 2:11, NLT).

Gerard van Honthorst Adoration of the Shepherd...Hope is one of the three things Paul said would last forever (1 Corinthians 13:13). People have survived many horrible situations by clinging to hope, however small or weak. For thousands of years, the hope of a Savior kept the Hebrews and then the Israelites going. They never gave up on that hope, no matter how many generations passed or what hardships they had to endure.

Jesus was the long anticipated hope come to life, not only for the Jews, but for all of humanity. The birth of a tiny baby wrapped in swaddling cloths gave hope a face, with flesh that could be touched, eyes to look into and a smile to light up the darkness. Today we celebrate the arrival of the Deliverer, Redeemer, Savior, Anointed One and King, God with us, everyone’s hope and the bright, shining star of our hearts. Merry Christmas and God bless you with his love and peace.

God gives collateral blessings

“‘How kind the Lord is!’ she [Elizabeth] exclaimed. ‘He has taken away my disgrace of having no children'” (Luke 1:25, NLT).

Elizabeth and MaryIn times of war, the military usually causes what they call collateral damage, which is when innocent civilians are unintentionally killed and civil property is damaged or destroyed. It’s a tragic yet inevitable side effect of military operations. Sin causes collateral damage too, even though many believe their actions, however harmful, won’t have any effect on others. They reason they can do what they want, as long as they don’t hurt anyone but themselves.

God’s actions have collateral effects too, but they are positive and good. When Elizabeth became pregnant, she was overjoyed and praised God for his kindness. Up until that time (and she wasn’t a young woman), Elizabeth suffered from the stigma of having no children. Childlessness was looked upon as a curse and made others wonder what a woman did wrong or who sinned to cause her infertility. God could have chosen a younger woman with other children, but he chose Elizabeth. He took away her disgrace, gave her the joy of having a son, the privilege of being one of the first to know the Messiah had appeared and the honor of giving birth to John, who would prepare the way for the Savior. Elizabeth experienced collateral blessings as a result of God’s “Christmas operation.” That’s his way—the way of kindness, blessings and love for all.