As I write this, I can feel my heart beating faster and faster. The day draws ever nearer. It really isn’t any different than any other day on earth. Except that I feel as we approach this day, the steadfast love, abounding joy, and sense of hope and peace increases and climaxes. Christmas Day. The day we celebrate Christ’s birth – the Lamb of God. The day we celebrate the Son of God, his love come down for us – undeserving, ungrateful, disgraceful sinners.
Our family has been working through Romans the past month in our daily devotions. It was requested by The Boy and JJ after finishing Acts. The Man was hesitant as Romans is a difficult book for even US to understand – but he embraced the challenge head on and has been doing a fantastic job of leading and helping the boys – and me! – to understand what we’re reading. And, of course, Romans is CHUCK FULL of the promises and purposes of God. Starting with the law and why it was needed in the first place – to show us our sin (Romans 4:15), to show us our complete and utter inability to save ourselves (Romans 5:8-10) , to show us God’s kindness (Romans 2:4), and to point us to Christ (Romans 6:23); to how we can have peace with God – through faith in Jesus Christ and his death on the cross (Romans 8:2-4; 10:9-10); to pursuing righteousness (Romans 12:2) and what that looks like for us (Romans 12:9-21; chapters 13-15).
And, as I have been blessed to see and experience, God likes to tie together things we’re learning three- even four- fold! Our Narrow Way bible study is also going through righteousness – how to be righteous (believe in the Lord Jesus Christ), what a righteous person should do, what a righteous person should follow after. We have talked the last few days about being a vessel unto honour (2 Timothy 2:21) and how to be used by God. Robin Jones Gunn wrote a really good children’s book called Mrs. Rosey Posey and the Chocolate Cherry Treats. I inherited the book from my parents when we had kids. It is a book about a little girl who learns to follow after righteousness, and to keep herself clean (using the stories of plates who dirtied themselves with things of the world and turned into paper plates, as opposed to the one plate who kept herself clean and ready for the King). It fit PERFECTLY with what we were talking about – making a choice to pursue righteousness.
Our children are starting to get it, I think, hope, pray. They understand they cannot do anything to save themselves – but to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. They understand that, out of love for God, they will desire (or learn to desire and grow to desire) to follow his commands – and it won’t always be easy or the first thing they start to do, but they will have to make a choice. They understand that we have hope – only because of the Little Babe who came one night, as part of God’s plan, to save us.
Many of you have been following along with what has been happening with Harvest Bible Chapel Calgary’s pastor, Trevor Peacock, and his daughter, Hope (10 years old) . In a brief nutshell, after a routine tonsil removal, they think she had a stroke, which sent her spiraling into a series of baffling and inexplicable attacks – she does not have much brain activity, her lungs have been collapsing, her heart has stopped numerous times. (If you would like to know more, please check the Pray for Hope Peacock Facebook Event Page and consider joining over 3,000 of us in prayer). Her parents have been a rock, encouraging ME in their faithfulness in trusting the Lord for his purposes. The eyes of the Lord are upon this family and their sweet daughter. We read yesterday 1 Peter 3:14-15 “But even if you should suffer for righteousness sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts regard Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you;”. Even if death reigns, it is only this side of heaven. With tears in my eyes, I explained to the boys that, even if Hope dies, her family still has Hope. And they knew why. They knew that they have HOPE because, if God chooses now, they will one day again see Hope in heaven.
My heart cries, aches for this family – yet I can see they are entrusting their future and their daughter to their Heavenly Father’s plan. And I know that they have hope, because of what Christ has done for us.
He came as a baby – left the heavenly throne of his father. He came to go through the difficulties and hardships of life that are a part of the curse of sin – He, the sinless Son of God. He came to be mocked, thrown out, beaten, crucified – so that I might have hope.
“He has come for us, this Jesus, he’s the hope for all mankind. He has come for us, the Messiah, born to give us life.” ~ Meredith Andrews (God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen/He Has Come For Us)
This is one of my absolute favourite Christmas songs, sung by Meredith Andrews. If you haven’t heard of her before, please consider checking out her CDs! She has ministered so much to my heart over the couple years.
It is easy to lose focus with all the things going on around the world – earthquakes, tsunamis, tornados, famine; rebuilding of the temple, turmoil in the Middle East; bills being passed in North America limiting Christian movement and teaching. However, the earth will not pass away one moment before God has planned it. We will not succumb to global warming or icebergs taking over everything. We will not succumb to anything that is not already in God’s plan. And that plan involves HOPE. My HOPE is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
So I pray for you, this Christmas season, and throughout the coming year, that you would have HOPE. That you would consider what Christ has accomplished, in light of all the overwhelming things happening around you, and you would believe and meet the Saviour on your knees. He has come for YOU, to give you LIFE.
Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD,
whose HOPE is the LORD.
He is like a tree planted by water,
that sends out its roots by the stream,
and does not fear when heat comes,
for its leaves remain green,
and it is not anxious in the year of drought,
for it does not cease to bear fruit.