“The people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.” // Matthew 4:16
Hello all! I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday! Now that we have Thanksgiving behind us, I think it’s fair game to dive into Christmas! Usually we celebrate Advent, the weeks leading up to Christmas, starting four Sunday’s out from Christmas, but I thought we might as well start this week (five Sunday’s out from Christmas). It’s never too early to start reflecting on this season of Celebration and Hope!
This week, I want to talk about the Hope of Christmas. Sometimes we get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of the season that we forget to stop and remember what it’s really all about. Before we start shopping, attending parties, or baking Christmas cookies, let’s take a moment to prepare ourselves and set our hearts in the right place for this season.
We’re all hoping for something. Somewhere deep inside us, we all long for God to move in our lives. We hope for a better future, a new opportunity, maybe even a Christmas miracle. One of the greatest things about Christmas is the reminder that even though life may be dark, it won’t stay that way.
One of our favorite Christmas verses is Isaiah 9:6, which reads, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” This prophecy was given about 750 years before the birth of Christ. 750 years! There were 750 years from the time God promised a Savior until He actually appeared on earth. If we fast forward a little bit, we have the last prophecy in the book of Malachi, and then we begin the New Testament, which opens with the birth of Jesus. But between Malachi and the birth of Jesus, there were 400 years of silence.
There were 400 years of silence. Silence. Not a word. No prophets from God, no voice calling out in the wilderness, nothing lighting up in the night sky. Nothing but silence.
Not a word. No prophets from God, no voice calling out in the wilderness, nothing lighting up in the night sky. Nothing but silence.
What an agonizing time for the people who had hoped God would send a Savior, a deliverer. They were waiting in complete silence for this promised Savior. But it wasn’t 350 years. Not 385 years. But 400 long years after the last prophecy that Jesus came. And when He did, was it amazing.
The hope of Christmas is that we have a Savior. That there is healing, redemption, and power available to us because God sent His son, wrapped in swaddling clothes in a manger. That darkness, silence, and death wouldn’t have the final word. And it was all for us.
But before there was a baby lying in the manger, angels announcing His birth, a star leading the wise men on their way, there were 400 years of silence. 400 years of darkness. But that didn’t mean God had forgotten. It meant that He was working in ways humanity couldn’t see, in ways that only He could move. He was waiting for the right time, aligning everything perfectly.
If you’re in a season where your hope is running thin, if it feels like you’re somewhere in year 35 of 400 years of silence, have hope this Christmas. God never forgot about His promise to His people–not even after 400 years.
And He hasn’t forgotten about you, either.
As we kick off this Christmas season, let’s pray for God to fill us with the hope only He can give. Let’s ask Him to open our eyes to see Him working, even if we can only look back and see the miracle He did 2,000 years ago. To the day He changed the world. And if we do, maybe someday we might just change the world, too. ❤
Until next time,
P.S. This year has been a year I’ve really hung onto the word “hope” for myself. If you want further reading on the topic, check out this article I wrote on 412teens.org. It’s very near and dear to my heart, and I hope it encourages you, too.