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Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:11

The Angels did much more than take away the fear of the Shepherds. They went a step further and offered hope. That’s important because too many times the answers society offers promise to take away our fear, but offer nothing in return.

It’s easy to sit around the coffee cup and redefine the problems and discuss possible solutions, or ‘if only’s’ but once the coffee is gone and we walk back out into the world, nothing has changed. In fact, they can sometimes be worse.

While the answers the world gives offer no lasting solutions, God not only takes away our fear, he replaces it with hope! The Angels announced two things to the shepherds that night on the hillside. One was consolation (Fear not) the other hope (a Savior is born). Their song created consolation in the midst of fear and hope in the midst of darkness.

Look up the meaning of Savior to see the hope that was offered through the babe in the manger.  The Savior, Jesus Christ offers us:

  • Safety: not safety from trails because he promised us there would be trials, but safety in the midst of trials!
  • Deliverance: We are delivered from the power of sin in our lives, the guilt of our past; the enemy of our soul.
  • Preservation: Closely tied to safety, we are preserved in the trials of life. Jesus refers to us as the ‘salt of the earth.’ Salt not only adds flavor, it preserves against the elements.
  • New Life: The old is gone, the new has come. Jesus didn’t come to remodel us; he came to change us completely, to make us new creations.
  • Escape: The enemy of our soul doesn’t mind if we are spiritual as long as he can keep us bound to our past and failures. Jesus broke the bonds. Just as Peter walked out of prison a free man, we can repent and walk away from the bondage of our past through the Savior.
  • Someone to confide in: Each of us has skeletons in the closet. Those fears, worries, doubts, hateful feelings that hide in the inner corners of our hearts, waiting to attack us in our weakness. When there is no one else to talk to we can come to Jesus. He listens without judgment and accepts us without condition.
  • Hope: That’s really all the above in a nutshell. The tantalizing things of this world (relationships, money, status and power) can’t offer us the one thing we all long for. Hope for tomorrow.

To the shepherds the song of hope came through the angels. To us it comes through forgiveness, the cross, the Word and the family of God.

PRAYER: Father God, thank you for the Angel Song of Hope in the midst of our darkness. Thank you for Jesus who goes beyond all our fears to offer us unending hope. In the name of our Savior, Amen.

They asked, “Where is the baby who was born to be the king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.”Matthew 2:2 (NCV)

There is, perhaps, no time in the mind of a child (of any age) more full of expectancy and anticipation than Christmas. The excitement and wonder of the lights; the brightly colored packages and the hopes that are within them all add to the anticipation.

Will I get that bicycle I’ve always wanted? Will the doll that talks be in this package? Will I finally get that video game I’ve been hinting about all year? I hope…oh, I hope it’s what I think it is. Will he give me the ring at Christmas? The princess thinks with a noticeable twinkle in her eye.

One year my nephew put socks on his Christmas list. Since he worked hard and worked outdoors often, we decided that would be a good, useful gift for him. So we bought him a couple packages and wrapped them with sincerity and love. Unfortunately, so did everyone else in the family. Yep, that’s right. EVERYONE. 25 packages of socks! Needless to say his anticipation was smashed and he never asked for socks at Christmas again!

The promise of a coming messiah was hundreds of years old by the time the star finally appeared in the sky. It had been so long that many had forgotten about it, thus it went unnoticed by the priests, the King and everyone else.

We aren’t told exactly where the Magi were, only that they were ‘east of Jerusalem’. What we do know is that their anticipation, their expectancy never waned, not for a moment. I wonder what it was like when the first of them noticed the star. Night after night of watching. For many an entire lifetime of watching! But then. Then the night came when someone said, “Look! There it is! In the western sky! He’s here! He’s been born!”

Did you get goose bumps? I’ll bet he did. Did the excitement almost overwhelm you? I imagine it did overwhelm him. Had there been cell phones back then he’d have awakened every one of his colleagues.

“The King has been born. We must hurry. Get the caravan ready. Load the Camels with gifts. Hurry. He’s been born!”

Jesus says we must be like children in our faith. May we be like children in our ‘expectancy’ as well. May this Christmas season rekindle the excitement we had as children, only let that excitement be due to the coming of the Christ-child.

The Magi are known for their gifts, but gifts wasn’t their main reason for coming, worship was. In the same way, as we look forward to the Christmas season; as we enjoy the company of family and friends we rarely see; as we enjoy the giving and receiving of gifts and sharing all those holiday goodies, may we remember to worship the King.

PRAYER: Father, I love Christmas. I love everything about Christmas, the lights, the food, the music, the gifts. But in the hustle and bustle of this holiday season please remind me to worship you for sending Jesus. Amen.

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