Hope Is Here

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Driving through town, there are many Christmas lights to enjoy, as well as brightly lit Nativity Scenes, where Jesus looks warm and snug in a manger and Mary and Joseph appear quite content and nicely dressed. The animals are smiling and you may even spot an angel and wise men happily peering at baby Jesus. It’s a perfect picture, but is it an accurate one?

The truth is, the manger was cold and possibly wet, Mary was afraid and suffering the pains of her first childbirth. Joseph most likely felt just as uncomfortable and maybe even a bit inadequate as the head of the family, being unable to find a warm dry place for Mary at this critical time. The cute little wooden stable that we see in every nativity scene was most likely a dark cave in real life. A place full of camels, donkey’s, and oxen, doing things that animals do. Mary had to keep Jesus off the ground so he wouldn’t get cold let alone stomped on, the only thing within site was the animals feeding trough. “At least the hay would be fresh and dry,” Mary probably thought. They had no idea wise men were on their way to bless them, no idea that soon after they would have to flee for their son’s life. That is the true Nativity Scene.

It isn’t pretty, but that doesn’t make it less important. If anything, it add’s to the story, to know just what God agreed to. Jesus was worthy of royal robes and a throne, and yet he came into the world naked and placed in a feeding trough. We later see Jesus serve many people, even though he is worthy of being served. He bends down and washes his disciple’s feet….and soon after, he gives up his life on the cross for our sake. That baby in a manger, shivering and crying…is the Savior of the world.

My pastor talked about this recently at church, how we don’t value “hope” until we find ourselves in hopeless situations. Hope becomes a strength in times when it seems the storms of life won’t relent. It is this hope that transforms lives, despite circumstance. It seems only fitting, that hope would be born into a very hopeless world. The wise men weren’t turned away by the scene before them. The smell of the animals is probably what helped them find Jesus once they made it into town. They recognized hope, the prophecy they had been waiting for had come. And so they bowed before Jesus and gave him gifts to honor him in a place without honor.  Hope is here.

I don’t know what emotions Christmas brings to the surface for you. I know of many who mourn during Christmas the loss of loved ones. I know of others who find Christmas stressful and depressing. And other’s still who absolutely love Christmas. No matter who you are, there is one thing I want to leave you with. Hope. Christmas may be hard, stressful, or depressing…but it is important. It is the day hope came into the world. It is that hope which is still yours to take and cling to. That because of Jesus we can truly live, and one day be with him forever. No one can take this hope from you.

 

Hope is Here

 

She felt the rain, as it fell

In sheets of freezing cold

She felt the pain increasing

And fear took hold her soul

 

The place where she was laying

Was dirty, wet, and cold

A realization shaping

This was just as foretold

 

Just as the rain was slowing

A cry rang through the night

Baby Jesus, fragile and thin

Reaching, clinging, alive

 

She wrapped him in a shawl

As he began to shake

Praying, hoping, crying

That he would be okay

 

That’s how the story happened

No warm lit lullaby

No clean and dry stable

The night Hope had arrived

 

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