December 20, 2020
Pastor John Hering
And so it was that while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son, wrapped him in swaddling cloths, and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
Are you ready to it all to be over? 2020 has been quite the year. A global pandemic, economic recession, unemployment, political division, cultural upheaval, racial tension, record wildfires, floods, struggling with depression, grief, fear and hopelessness.
According to a recent survey, 3 in 4 Americans report the constant stream of bad news has taken a tremendous toll on their lives. Not surprisingly, 80% are desperate to be cheered up. If ever there’s a year we needed some Christmas Cheer, this is it.
I’ve heard a number of people say, “I’m so glad 2020 is almost over” as if everything will automatically reset on January 1. What if it doesn’t?
Think of Joseph and Mary traveling from Nazareth to Bethlehem. Their life was in an upheaval! Messages from angels, miraculous events, and necessity of faith! Then the day finally arrived! Jesus was born! It gave them hope as they held the baby Jesus in their arms. The promised Savior was here!
Let’s put the life of Mary and Joseph into an equation. Indeed, this could be the equation for us, too. My problems + God’s promises = Christmas Cheer!
God promised to give them a child. God kept that promise. They had hope! We live in the same hope provided in our God! The word “hope” is used 52 times in the New Testament and is always grounded in God; that’s enough hope for every week of the year! Perhaps I should mention that this Vaccine of hope lasts for about a week.
So, today we pause to consider hope that is grounded in the Word of God we will hear today. The message we hear divides people into two camps. Simeon had it right—Jesus will cause the rise and fall of many!
Fall – if our primary reason for celebrating Christmas is to gather with family and friends, to enjoy fine food, to rest in economic, political, cultural, nature and recall our relationship with those around us, then we’re doomed to fall.
Rise – however if our reason for celebrating Christmas is to recall the hope that is ours in the Christ-child born in Bethlehem. He came to redeem us who were held bondage in pandemic, economic, political and social chains. He came to redeem us from the bondage and curse of sin. He came to pay the price of his perfect life to God the Father to make us God’s own dear children.
Are you ready for it all to be over? Then let’s get our Vaccine of Hope from the lips of our children and members of our church. Hold on to the Christ-child in Hope in order to have an end to our trials, troubles and tribulations.