Phillips Brooks wrote the popular carol, O Little Town of Bethlehem – we often romanticize the Christmas story.
It would not be of any surprise that the nativity scene immediately pops into our heads: the star, the shepherds, the animals in the stable, the three wise men, Joseph, Mary, & baby Jesus wrapped in a manger, etc.
One of the lines in this song is “The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.” In the little town of Bethlehem, God met the hopes of all humanity by the birth of His Son, Jesus.
But truth be told, Jesus was born in an obscure town of a poor Judean region filled with cynicism, resentment, and danger due to social unrest, oppression, financial hardship, subversive and resistant movements; and in a pleasure-driven, self-indulgent, anything-goes culture but spiritually poor and hungry.
Welcome to a world where hope is in short supply, then and now! As John Maxwell says, “Where there is no hope in the future, there is no power in the present.”
The bible teaches that “when we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time … God sent his Son, born of a woman” (cf. Rom. 5:6; Gal. 4:4). Hope is one of the best Christmas gifts because we celebrate afresh the promise and power of God in the coming of the Christ-child!
Let me provide a biblical definition of hope:
Hope is embracing the certainty of God’s promised future that shapes how we live in the present.
In Matt. 2:1-18 we read about the wise men’s search for a newborn king, a story that reflects the universal, human yearning for a better future and teaches us about how we can live a hope-filled life in a hope-deprived world.