By Lane Corley, Church Planting Strategist, Louisiana Baptists
It was Kate McAllister who called Christmas “the season of perpetual hope.” But as we look around at our world, it seems to be getting worse & worse. The Christmas story as told in the Gospels offers us many signs of hope that we can rest in.
1) Prophecy Fulfilled. Some estimate that over 300 Old Testament prophecies were fulfilled by the coming of Jesus Christ. These prophecies gave hope to generations of followers of YHWH. And today they testify to us of how trustworthy God’s word is. The preciseness & detail arranged by God could not possibly be just happenstance. From being born in Bethlehem to a virgin (who was not from Bethlehem) to fleeing to Egypt to escape King Herod’s wrath. We can look at prophecy fulfilled & say GOD’S WORD IS TRUE. Micah 5:2, Isaiah 7:14, Genesis 22:18, Numbers: 24:17, Hosea 11:1, Jeremiah 31:15, Mathew 2:16.
2) He used ordinary people who dared to believe. As you read through the Christmas story, & really all of the New Testament, & get to know its characters, you’ll be struck by their ordinariness. Elizabeth & Zachariah – aging priest & barren wife. Mary & Joseph – young & poor village dwellers. Shepherds in the fields – like modern day janitors. No one probably ever even ask their names. The only thing spectacular about them was that they dared to believe God & get caught up in this miraculous story of God’s rescue of the world by sending his son. If he used them, he can use you & I.
3) He made a way for everyone. His was no a temporary intervention. His solution to the needs of the world went right to the heart, to the greatest enemy of humanity – sin & death. Real & lasting change is possible for EVERYONE through Christ. In his Arrival Jesus touched every socioeconomic sphere – the wealthy wise men, the poor shepherd, the old – Anna & Simeon, the young – Mary & Joseph, the powerful – Herod. In his ministry he touched every type of person – the rich – zaccheus, the sinful woman at the well, the diseased lepers, the religious Nicodemus, the destitute – woman caught in adultery. Today the gospel has universal appeal & changes everyone it touches no matter who or what or where you are.
How can I Experience & Give Hope? You can be a sign of hope to the world if you will:
Believe God’s Word is True.
Believe that God can Use Me.
Believe that God has provided the way for everyone.
These truths lived out will lead to the adventure of lifetime.