Christmas is getting closer. It’s
that time of year. Houses are being decorated with
tinsel and lights and for me, personally, I agree
with the renowned Christmas song, “It’s the most
wonderful time of the year!” But I also understand
that sentiment isn’t true for everyone.
For some Christmas conjures up feelings of dread,
hurt, sadness, grief, or perhaps worse - hopelessness. Perhaps
you’ve recently lost a job which means you are cash strapped.
Perhaps you have lost a loved one and are heart broken. The year
2020 has been a difficult and dreaded year for many. Sicknesses,
shutdowns, quarantines, political drama, you name it - it seems this
year has delivered that and more. But here is where God’s word to us
through the prophet Jeremiah is so important for us to hear.
“The days are coming,’ declares the Lord, ‘when I will fulfill the
good promise I made to the people of Israel and Judah. “‘In those
days and at that time I will make a righteous Branch sprout from
David’s line; he will do what is just and right in the land. In
those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety.
This is the name by which it will be called: The Lord Our Righteous
Savior’” (Jeremiah 33:15-16).
Don’t miss the hope that God speaks of in these verses. The hope
that only He can bring, no matter what is happening in our world or
happening in your life today, tomorrow, or the tomorrow after that.
Whether you agree “this is the most wonderful time of the year” or
you think this is a season of distress, God’s Word reminds us of a
special and precious gift. It is the hope of a Savior who brings joy
that lasts beyond the Christmas sales and who provides deep and
abiding comfort that carries you through the worst of Christmas
Two years ago I preached a sermon series where we looked at some of
the classic Christmas movies down through the years. We looked at
movies like Elf, A Christmas Carol, and It’s a Wonderful Life. I
pointed out several moral and Biblical themes displayed in each of
these movies. One of the movies I didn’t highlight was, “White
Christmas.” Filmed back in 1954, this Christmas classic featured
Bing Crosby’s famous song, “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas.” Bing
sings this classic Christmas ballad as the movie comes to a happy
ending. But, if you remember the movie, it didn’t start that way.
The storyline starts in the tumultuous days of World War II. But
after making it through those challenging years, the movie moves on
to post-war life. Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye team up as partners in
show business. The partnership begins well, but then confusion and
trouble strikes. They hit the wall of some big problems as Christmas
approaches. Sound familiar?
Christmas is a season that is supposed to be filled with joy and
laughter but with everything going on in society it doesn’t feel
joyous. As I write this we are experiencing another wave of Covid-19
and many states are being told to lockdown...again!
One character in the movie, General Waverly, seems to embody
perseverance, but hopelessness also fits too. A warm winter with no
snow meant no guests in his lodge and no revenue to keep it going.
Every plan he puts his hand to fails - even the army didn’t want him
back. With an exhausted bank account he feels unwanted and at the
end of his rope. Interesting isn’t it - how art imitates life and
how life can wear you down to the point of hopelessness.
And that promise is for you today, too, dear friend.
Even if everything is going all wrong, God is at work for you right
now to make things right. You may not see it all come together
today. You may not feel wonderful tomorrow. But God is at work!
Remember this season is all about God’s plan - His real plan to save
you and me from pain, hopelessness, sin, and sadness. This season is
about God sending His One and Only beloved Son to be born in human
flesh, walk in the footsteps of your pain, suffer for your sin and
win victory over death, darkness, hurt, and hopelessness.
In the midst of real pain Jeremiah spoke of God’s plan hundreds of
years before Jesus was even born in Bethlehem. Jeremiah says, “This
is the name by which it will be called: The Lord Our Righteous
Savior.” God’s plan in Jesus Christ makes life right again. Through
His love, mercy, and friendship, God gives us a gift of hope.
The Apostle Paul said it this way in 2 Corinthians 5:21, “God made
him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become
the righteousness of God.” In Jesus, God took all that was wrong and
made our lives right again. This is real hope to face today,
tomorrow, and forever. Jesus is telling us all, in Him, you’re going
to be okay. Even as you face your biggest challenges, you’re going
to be okay.
God’s plan of real love, real forgiveness, and real hope can be
yours today through Christ Jesus. Look to Christ this Christmas
season, through all the festivities and even the sorrows, for He is
your hope. And take a look around, even in your struggles, and see
if there are any General Waverlys in your life. There may be people
at the brink of hopelessness, but you have what they need. You have
the answer to their struggles.
Let the hope of Jesus Christ hold you as you face the challenges in
your life and the challenging days ahead! Let the hope of Christ
hold you as you make your way through the stores and the traffic and
your neighborhood. And, don’t hold this hope just for yourself -
share Him with those who really need it this time of year.