The Heart of Christmas: Hope

I believe that the Christmas season is a time of hope, because it is centered on Jesus.

If we go by appearances, we may miss the heart of the season. Shopping, Santa Clause, Snowmen, Festivities, Crass Commercialism, out of control Credit Card spending, unending decorations – can leave us all frazzled and exhausted. It’s enough to make you want to skip Christmas.

We must always come back to the WHY … why all the effort? Lost in the ruins of politically correct greetings and religion-less observations, is where we find the Christ Child. It was not much so different in his day. Too much going on for anyone to be concerned with the birth of a baby. Census, inns were full, politics – and Jesus was born in a manger – oblivious to
  the madness of the world around Him. It was the simple and solemn shepherds in the fields who first heard the news of Hope. (Luke 2:8-20)

If we are to see the heart of Christmas, we start by hearing the message of God’s holy messengers as they bring several words of hope.

JOY  I bring you good news of great joy. (Luke 1:43-45 – Elizabeth … a forgotten birth-miracle … John leaps for joy in presence of Jesus.) Not filled with joy? Are you listening to the wrong messengers?

ALL – That will be for all the people. John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” The message is for you today.

SAVIOR – Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; There is hope because there is a Savior. Many reject the Savior, but what about you?

CHRIST – He is Christ the Lord. Christ = anointed one, chosen one. If Christ is the Lord, there is no other. If Christ is the Lord, will He be anything else in your life?

MANGER – This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”  Jesus was not born in a palace, though he left the palaces of heaven to come to earth. The humility of Jesus points to his accessibility … you can reach Him … He is not far.

GLORY – Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest.”  Arising from the gritty reality of this scene comes the shining glory of God! This is not just a happening, it is infused with the wonder and power of God!

PEACE – On earth peace to men. This is not peace of circumstances – Jesus didn’t have that … it is peace of heart. “Whatever else be lost among the years, Let us keep Christmas still a shining thing: Whatever doubts assail us, or what fears, Let us hold close one day, remembering Its poignant meaning   for the hearts of men. Let us get back our childlike faith again.”  (Grace Noll Crowell)

FAVOR – On whom his favor rests. God is not only concerned, but has moved to bless you with his favor … a gift of grace. Undeserved, unearned, unable to achieve on our own, God views us with favor…choosing to love us.

These shepherds hurried off to find Mary, Joseph, and the baby in the manger. They spread the word, and returned glorifying and praising God For what they had heard, For what they had seen. The Heart of the Christmas message is hope – hope found only in Jesus Christ and a relationship with Him.

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests. Luke 2:14

Audio of this message found HERE.

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