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Christmas: Hope Restored, Hope Reclaimed

12.24. 2017 Posted By: The Mennonite 121 Times read

Beryl Jantzi is the Stewardship Education Director for Everence. 

Watching the evening news has been a long time practice of mine, but it is becoming more difficult. I want to remain informed in spite of all the distressing accounts that seem to dominant the headlines these days, but lately I find myself waiting with anticipation for the final story of the news hour. Typically the last story is a human interest account of someone who is doing something good and making a difference–and as a result my hope is again restored.

The prophet Isaiah takes a different approach in our reading for today from Isaiah 9. He begins the chapter with a word of hope. We’re told something good is going to happen in some future time, in the land beyond the Jordan, in Galilee to be exact.

Then he writes: “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness – on them light has shined.” Isaiah 9:2

Now that gets my attention. In verse 6, he further explains the reason for this hope: “For a child has been born for us; a son given to us.”

It reminds me of the time we brought our second born daughter home from the hospital. As we carried Melissa into our home we called Rose, now 18 months old, over to meet her sister for the very first time. She looked down at Melissa and made a sound I had never heard her utter before. It was an involuntary gasp of amazement and wonder. All of our talking about a baby sister that was to join our family finally became a reality and it literally took her breath away.

Hope can be like that. First it takes our breath away and then a fresh wind of the spirit washes over us.

Later in the New Testament, Paul is writing to his friend, Titus, and makes a declaration about waiting for “the blessed hope and the manifestation of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. He it is who gave himself for us that he might redeem us from all iniquity.” The promise and good news shared by Isaiah took about 700 years to be fulfilled. Now here we read Paul declaring another word of hope. The wind will again blow and take our breath away. (Titus 2:13-14). More good news!  More hope!

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works. Speak these things, exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no one despise you. Titus 2:11-15

This now becomes our message to a world waiting, sometimes in darkness: redemption draweth nigh!

Come Lord Jesus, come again! Amen.

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