Unwrapping Christmas: Hope

Hope: to desire with expectation of obtainment or fulfillment, to expect with confidence.

More than mere wishful thinking or having a positive attitude, hope is confident that something will happen. Life is inconsolable without it.

“A man’s spirit will endure sickness, but a crushed spirit who can bear?” Proverbs 18:14

A crushed spirit is a person who has lost all hope. The vulnerability of hope is that it can be assaulted from an array of angles.

Real hope runs parallel with faith. “Now, faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1

Faith is grounded on a sure thing, and although we can’t always see what faith guarantees, we know it will come to pass because of “whom” our faith is in!

Hope behaves similarly when it’s rooted in the right person. It’s the source of your faith and hope that makes all the difference.

Hope is the difference between:

  • Enduring or quitting.
  • Courage or discouragement.
  • Optimism or pessimism.

Isaiah is a prophet during one of Israel’s captivity cycles. Captivity was the result of breaking their covenant with God. These moments dissolved their hope and caused them to question if God was going to abandon them once and for all.

Undergoing times of disappointment can lead you to question the faithfulness of God.

“if we are faithless, he remains faithful—for he cannot deny himself.” 2 Timothy 2:13

God is not like us. Even when we are unfaithful, He remains faithful.

Isaiah passes on a message regarding the birth of a child that will bring order and lasting peace, despite Israel’s unfaithfulness to God.

Tucked away in this passage are two prophesies. First, we are told of a coming King, who is identified by four pairs of titles which distinguish Him as the promised One.

#1 Wonderful Counselor

Everyone needs a counselor—someone who can assist with a course correction from time to time. The wonderful counselor will bring counsel from God.

“And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching,” Matthew 7:28

“Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples,” John 20:30a

#2 Mighty God

This child born would be Immanuel, God with us.  He was not a representative of God, but the Mighty God.

In Hebrew, the word mighty is gibbor and speaks of His unparalleled and prevailing strength. He can’t be defeated.

#3 Everlasting Father

This title means my father is eternal or father of eternity. The term father was avoided when referencing God to prevent viewing Him as a human.

Yet Isaiah’s prophecy about the Messiah connects us with God in a new way. It affirmed His relationship to us and His continuity with us from now to eternity.

#4 Prince of Peace

Kings throughout history have tried to establish lasting peace, to no avail. Peace cannot be legislated.

There can be no external peace until there is internal peace.

Internal peace is the result of having God forgive your sin and giving you a new nature. If sin remains an active part of your life, we will be at war with God and without peace.

Jesus did not come to lead a political revolution. He came to introduce us to God and pave the way to eternal life.

Jesus is the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy of a child born to us, a son given. Christmas celebrates this moment and is the underwriting for our hope.

The second part of Isaiah’s prophecy has yet to be fulfilled. Isaiah says that the government will be upon His shoulders and that His kingdom and peace will increase.

This illustrates a kingdom that operates under the will and Word of God. A kingdom where He rules exclusively as King. This is a reference to eternity.

Currently, the governments of this world are not upon His shoulders. Furthermore, politicians cannot bring lasting peace nor absolve our sin issue. We are all sinful people. Only Jesus can provide this!

Because Jesus has fulfilled the first part of this promise, we know without a doubt that He will return, and we will live in a kingdom where He rules, and there is perfect peace.

No matter how dark the times are, we have hope substantiated by God’s faithfulness and know that He will return and so we can live with Him forever in eternity!

Christmas affirms our hope!

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