The Hope That Christmas Offers

Matthew 1:18-25  This is how Jesus the Messiah was born. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. But before the marriage took place, while she was still a virgin, she became pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit. Joseph, to whom she was engaged, was a righteous man and did not want to disgrace her publicly, so he decided to break the engagement[a] quietly.

As he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus,[b] for he will save his people from their sins.”

All of this occurred to fulfill the Lord’s message through his prophet:

“Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us.’”

When Joseph woke up, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded and took Mary as his wife. But he did not have sexual relations with her until her son was born. And Joseph named him Jesus.

Imagine if you can what it would be like to be a guest in somebodies home but never feeling at home. Grateful to have a place to stay but quietly hoping to one day be in your own home. You have been given freedom to make yourself at home yet you still never feel 100% free. Have you ever been there?

It makes me think of Jim and Tami Webb who confidently and graciously responded to God’s call to sell their house and follow God to New Jersey. They gave up the comfort of a house they had raised their children in and for years now they have been living with another family they had only really known for a few months.

They made it work but they wondered when they could finally have a place here that they could call home. They moved out of one house that was shared with another family to a house that was owned by another. They couldn’t truly settle in because there was no promise they could be there long term and then sure enough they were given a few months to get out.

Hope came in a strange way but at least there was hope. They received a gift from an unexpected source and found a house that they could move in. Now finally after a year they were able to unpack the boxes that they packed in Florida. They were able to finally find a home they could call their own.

The name Jesus was chosen by God for his Son, it was a common name of that day but its meaning was very special. Jesus is the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew name Joshua. It means “Yahweh is Salvation.” The Lord is salvation was the name given for centuries to little Jewish boys similar to how we today name boys John or Mike.

It reflects the hope of these Jewish parents for one day experiencing God’s salvation. For centuries the Jewish people had been “houseguest” and they were never truly free. Centuries of oppression under a succession of world powers was their only experience. So God’s choice of such a common name when He could have chosen anything helps us see a glimpse into the heart of God.

Jesus came for all of us. He came in a way that identified with the “average Joe.” I read this quote and I think it sums up perfectly as we consider these thoughts today:

“He came in love to become one of us, so that we might be drawn to Him and become one of His.”

So find Hope today in knowing that He came!

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