Christmas: Hope Realized

Merry Christmas!

We began this devotional series exploring expectant waiting. Expectant waiting is hope-filled waiting rooted in the confidence that God is at work and continues to be at work in the world regardless of whether or not we can see it at the moment. And on our journey through Luke 1 we have encountered people waiting. Zechariah and Elizabeth had waited their whole adult lives for a child; then they waited for the birth of their son and for Zechariah’s voice to be restored; Mary (and Joseph) waited for the birth of Jesus. And today we get to read the fulfillment of Gabriel’s words to Mary.

READ: Luke 2:1-20.

For Mary and Joseph their season of waiting was fulfilled and their hope realized that day in Bethlehem. How do you imagine it felt to finally behold the newborn Jesus in those first moments? Mary had probably replayed Gabriel’s words a million times over the months of her pregnancy, but to see the baby and hold him in her arms. O what joy must have flooded her heart! Hope realized.

But the birth of Jesus meant so much more than the completion of a pregnancy. With Jesus’ birth, God’s plan for the redemption of humanity was in full swing. Israel’s long years of waiting and yearning for the Messiah were ended. Emmanuel, God with us, had come. Hope realized. And here in Luke 2 God declared this glorious, best-of-all news not to the religious elite in the temple in Jerusalem but to hardworking shepherds on the margins of society in the fields outside of Bethlehem. And these shepherds responded to this wonderful news by praising God and sharing what they had seen and heard with everyone they met.

And while the waiting for the first coming of Jesus is over, we still wait expectantly for Christ’s return when we can rejoice and proclaim,

“Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever”

-Revelation 21:3-4

But until that day when our hope is fully realized, may we, like the shepherds, be filled with joy and declare in the midst of our waiting the good news of Jesus!

PONDER & DISCUSS:

  • What is your favorite part of the Christmas story?
  • How does it feel to come to the end of a season of expectant waiting and have our hope realized?
  • How is God calling you to share the good news of Jesus with those around you?

PRACTICE: Listen to the album Behold the Lamb of God as you celebrate over these next few days. As you listen, let your heart ponder the good news of the coming of Jesus.

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