Christmas Means Hope

Hope – During the season of Advent, the four Sundays leading up to Christmas, we have been looking at some of the Messianic prophecies from the book of Isaiah that foretell of the Savior’s coming. It’s important to remember the context in which Isaiah was writing when He announced that this anointed King of God would come to bring deliverance to the people of Israel. One verse that is particularly noteworthy comes in ch.40 of Isaiah. There the prophet records these words: “But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

At first glance, this could be interpreted to be a general verse of inspiration for those who are reading it. But for the original audience, the people of God who were hearing these words in the midst of the Babylonian captivity, they would have offered great hope in the midst of great darkness. The first 39 chapters of Isaiah are all about the impeding judgment that will fall upon the people of God for their sins, and rebellion, and slowly drifting away from the Lord, their first love. Because they sought help and solace in the surrounding nations, the Lord gave them over to those nations to show them that seeking salvation in anything other than Him will only bring bondage, not freedom as it almost always first appears. But during this captivity, Isaiah’s words would shine as a bright ray of hope, when there was little to hope in. Isaiah was prophesying that that Lord had not, and He would never forget His people, but at just the right time, the Lord Himself would come to deliver His children from darkness and oppression.

The Babylonian exile lasted for 70 years, before the Israelites were sent home to rebuild Jerusalem and the Temple. But even then, they still were living under the rule of other nations. This would last for many more generations, even up to the birth of the promised Savior. When Jesus was born, the Romans held power over Judea, yet interestingly, when Jesus began His ministry, His work didn’t involve overthrowing the Romans (which was priority #1 for many of the Israelites), rather His focus was on something much deeper. Jesus came to save His people from an exile worse than that of the Babylonians, He came to save us from the darkness of the death and the  darkness of sin in our own hearts. Because He experienced the ultimate exile, being cut off from the Father on the cross, we can be freed from the exile of sin and death over us. This is the good news we celebrate at Christmas, and  we live in great hope and anticipation of Christ’s return, when He will come again to make everything right on the Last Day.

Christmas means we can have hope, even in the midst darkness. He who came once for us, will come again, and that gives us hope no  matter what we face.

 

Merry Christmas from Riverside Community Church!

 

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Riverside Community Church
Sundays at 10:30 am
311 Old Mill Road
Cartersville, Ga 30120
(470) 315-2344
Info@RiversideCartersville.com

Riverside Community Church is a mission church of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA)