As Christmas draws nearer, we look forward to rejoicing and celebrating that over 2,000 years ago, the Hope of the world was born in a humble stable. We are approaching the end of a year that has seen the world weary, suffering, and uncertain, and because a baby King was born, there is still reason to hope, rejoice, and look forward to what is to come. In fact, I imagine that the world is not too far from where it was all that time ago in Bethlehem. The world feels dark and hopeless, but the Light of the World ensures that He is again coming. When the time came for Mary to give birth, Jesus was not born in the home of a relative or even in the inn. He was wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger surrounded by animals. In the same country, an angel of the Lord appeared to a group of shepherds watching over their flocks and told them the good news. The prophecies were true: The long-awaited Messiah had come and was lying in a manger.
When Jesus was born, there was not a tree alight with gifts piled beneath it or a candlelight service the evening before. There were not loved ones to celebrate with or tables filled with a feast to enjoy. The Messiah was born of a virgin in a cold barn surrounded by animals. He had come. He has come. Though our Christmas celebrations look different today than they did the night Jesus was born and perhaps even different than they have in years past, there are many reasons to celebrate. After centuries of anticipation and wondering when the Savior of the world would arrive to rescue the world from its own captivity, He was born Emmanuel, God With Us.
Years upon years later, we are again waiting for the coming of our promised King. We wait in anticipation knowing that the same King who brought good news of great joy on a dark night all that time ago and who we worship today is coming again for us one day. Merry Christmas to all.