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 Christmas isn’t just about a baby being born, it’s about God breathing hope.

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Read Luke 2:8-14

In the narrative of Jesus’ birth, Luke records the angel’s declaration to the shepherds in the field, “Behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.” Now, in order to grasp the gravity of this scene, it’s helpful to know some about the life of a shepherd. Back in the first century, shepherding was a lowly profession which meant shepherds were second-class citizens. A shepherd wasn’t allowed to testify in a court of law because their word couldn’t be trusted. Shepherds knew discrimination and the pressures of society’s pecking order. Yet, God comes to the lowly and discriminated to pronounce “good news of great joy for all people.” Imagine the hope in this statement.

One famous but anonymous quote says, “Man can live about 40 days without food, about three days without water, about eight minutes without air, but only for one second without hope.” The need for hope is a part of being human, and hope is a gift from God. Luke’s gospel reminds us that Christmas isn’t just about a baby being born, it’s about God breathing hope.

When God speaks into the desperation of humanity, he delivers hope and hope exhibits great joy. The angel’s declaration reminds us that God longs for his people to walk in vitality and life. And, not just for some people – for all people. God breathes hope, not just into those whom society would deem as worthy, but into all of humanity. There’s no discrimination or favoritism in God. He showers hope in the form of joy down on all of his creation. God gently delivers this hope in the form of a baby lying in a manger. Jesus is the hope of the world.

As we journey toward Christmas, we remember Jesus is able to birth hope into any life and in every situation. Certainly the shepherds would testify to this. Hope is the secure confidence in the future God has promised. Hope is the assurance of the joy that is available today. Hope is basing our lives around the truth that God is restoring all things. But, hoping in God doesn’t come naturally to fallen humanity. John Piper writes, “We must preach hope to ourselves, and preach diligently and forcefully, or we will give way to a downcast and disquieted spirit.” In the midst of this world, filled with oppression and pain, Jesus comes. As the Christ child is born in our lives today, His announcement is the same, “I bring good news of great joy for all people!”

God’s hope is for all people – rich and poor, near and far, friends and enemies. This means, you can offer hope to someone who feels hopeless, too. Take a few minutes to write a note, a text message or an email to offer someone else hope and encouragement.

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By Ryan Paulson

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