If you listened to my Christmas playlist, you’d quickly get bored. It’s essentially every version of O Holy Night available on Spotify. Even though they’ve left out some verses, my favorite version is still the *NSYNC cover.
Oh, holy night! The stars are brightly shining
It is the night of our dear Savior’s birth
I love the reminder of the night of Christ’s birth. His coming was anticipated, but unexpected. He was born in the arms of common people, not to nobility, royalty, or even wealth. He was given no special treatment, laid in a manger not meant for Him.
The world around Him had been awaiting His arrival. Whether they acknowledged it or not, all of humanity was longing, waiting for His birth and the redemption to follow. The heavens burst into song after announcing His birth to the shepherds. Everything had changed! The Messiah had been born! The heavens rejoiced!
Long lay the world in sin and error pining
Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth
A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices.
For yonder breaks, a new a glorious morn!
The world was weary and broken. When Christ was born, hope came alive! God promised to send a Redeemer to take away the sins of the world, and He had finally bought it to fruition. All the world had been hoping for had finally arrived!
Fullness of the Redemption
Today, we can see the fullness of the redemption we have in Christ. But on the night of His birth, there was only hope: Hope this baby boy would grow into adulthood; Hope this baby boy would be who the angels said He was; Hope that nothing would stop Him from fulfilling His purpose on earth; Hope that He would do what God had promised He would do; Hope He really was the Savior of the world.
The hope born that night in Bethlehem was only hope. It was the beginnings of the promise. God’s promise of redemption was not fulfilled that day. It took another thirty (give or take) years of waiting! Thirty years of promises. Thirty years of anticipation. Thirty years of hope.
Our world today is still weary and broken. Our hopes have been shattered this year. Proverbs 13:12 says, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is like a tree of life.” Many of our longings weren’t fulfilled this year. Many of our hearts are sick because of the constant disappointment and shattered hope we’ve experienced.
Hope is Deferred
I’m quick to fall into despair when my hope is deferred. At the first sign of loss or discouragement, I’m quick to lose it. I’m quick to place my faith in my own means, my own power, and my own abilities. I don’t want to place my hope in something so seemingly unreliable. The truth is, I’m just impatient. I don’t want to wait hundreds of years, or even thirty years. I want life to be better now!
When we’re overwhelmed with shattered hope, it can be an indication that we’ve placed our hope in the wrong places. I’ve looked for hope in a lot of things this year that let me down. Maybe you have too. When we place our hope in things of the world, even good, honorable things, there’s a risk it will be deferred.
Romans 5:5 offers us an incredible promise about hope:
“And hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”
This hope, the hope that God promises will never disappoint us, is hope in one thing: Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the hope that never fails. He alone is the hope of the world. Our hope in Him will never be deferred, never misplaced, never even delayed. It does not disappoint us.
Hope takes great patience.
But even in our waiting we can rejoice in the joy we have in Christ. He has given us incredible hope! What a privilege to live on this side of the cross, knowing He has already completed our hope. He has already redeemed our sin. He has already sealed our eternity if we have placed our faith in Him. Our hope is complete in His sacrifice. Our hope is complete in His death and resurrection. But that’s not all! We can continue to hope in His return! The first Advent is complete, but His second Advent is still to come! We can rejoice in Him!
Let all within us praise His holy name
Christ is the Lord! O praise His name forever!
His power and glory evermore proclaim
In this season of Advent, we can cling to the true hope we have in Christ. We can hold on to real hope, to hope that never lets us down and never disappoints. Our hope is not in the start of a new year, a medical breakthrough, or a political leader. Our hope is in Christ alone. He will never disappoint us! We can rejoice in Him!
Melissa Fuller serves as the Content Director for the international ministry Love God Greatly. She served as the general editor for the Love God Greatly Bible and as the managing editor on several Bible projects including the She Reads Truth Bible and the (in)courage Devotional Bible. Melissa has a Master’s degree in Theology from Dallas Theological Seminary. She currently lives in Georgia. https://lovegodgreatly.com/love-god-greatly-bible/