May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13
“A thrill of hope; the weary world rejoices, for yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.” ~~ O Holy Night
Have you ever wanted to travel back in time to be an eyewitness of the celestial celebration that took place in Bethlehem the night that Jesus was born? Now, I’m a bit fussy about fashion, but I’d even consider donning shepherd garb and hanging out with a few sheep for that opportunity! To see angels fill the sky, to hear the voice of God through the cries of a baby. To catch a glimpse of the brilliant Star of David, and to satisfy my curiosity as to what exactly a host of heavenly angels sounds like.
Oh, and to talk to Mary! Wouldn’t that be amazing to hear what she was thinking as she witnessed, and took part in the greatest miracle ever known to man? This baby she gave birth to was God-in-flesh, a true bundle of love. What do you think she treasured in her heart as she took it all in? I’m struck by this thought: As she held the Hope of the world, the Hope of the world was also holding her. Ponder that!
The baby born in a barn that holy night long ago is the Hope of the world – the Grace that saves us – the Love that heals us. Jesus is Hope that changes our worthless into precious, our guilty to forgiven, our hungry into satisfied, and our empty into full. His presence is inescapable. We cannot flee from His stubborn grip. The psalmist, David said: “If I go up to the heavens, You are there; if I make my bed in the depths, You are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there Your hand will guide me, Your right hand will hold me fast” ( Psalm 139:8-10).
The Bible tells us in the New Testament that Jesus Christ sits at the right hand of God, the Father in heaven and that He “holds us fast.” Relish that thought. The Hope that holds us is Jesus Christ. You and I are held by Hope.
In the Old Testament, God told Joshua that He would “never leave or forsake” him (Joshua 1:5). God says the same to us. He will never leave us or forsake us; no matter the circumstances, not matter the diagnoses, no matter the financial struggle. Our faithful LORD is the same yesterday, today, and forever. We can rest assured that in everything, we are held by Hope.
After His resurrection and before His ascension into heaven, Jesus said, “Surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). My girlfriend Mary Southerland often reminds people that the word “always” actually means … drum roll please … “always!” He is always with us. Always loving us. Always wanting us to find comfort, refuge, joy and satisfaction in Him.
As a Christmas approaches and New Year dawns, let’s be mindful of God’s promise that we are never alone. Just like the shepherds received the headline news of Jesus’ birth from singing angels so long ago, receive this glad tiding of great joy today: If you are in Christ, then you are held by Hope.