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Once again, it’s Christmas season. This year, I am so filled with hope that I can hardly contain it. I’ve just realized that Christmas says as much about our Father as it does about our Saviour. 

In our world today there are so many ways to lose hope because so many things are wrong—to name a few, there’s the pandemic, political polarization, racism, injustice, terrorism, and declining interest in Christian faith. But this hasn’t taken God by surprise. We are not in a new scenario—we’re in a “once again” scenario.

You see, this current climate reminds me of the time I travelled along with the Jews through their history by reading a chronological Bible. As I began to read the New Testament in early December that year, I experienced Christmas in a whole new way as I saw clearly how wrong everything was going for the Jews at the time of Jesus’ birth:

  • The Jews were back in the Promised Land, but they were a conquered people.
  • They had a Temple, but it was only a pale imitation of Solomon’s Temple.
  • They had lots of new religious writings, but they hadn’t had a prophet from God in 400 years.
  • They had a king, but he was not a Davidic king.
  • They had no sign of a promised Messiah.

In short, it seemed that God had not kept His Covenant promises to them. It was as though they were once again in the same situation as their oppressed ancestors in Egypt, who groaned in slavery.

And then, amid the sorrows of life under Roman rule, Jesus was born. Surely His birth would change everything and give hope to the Jews that their salvation was at hand! But that wasn’t the case. Jesus’ birth and its circumstances remained hidden. 

Yes, the Magi came…but they protected Jesus by saying nothing. Mary and Joseph wisely kept Jesus’ identity to themselves too. And who would listen to Anna and Simeon who’d spent years waiting for the Messiah? Only the shepherds proclaimed the news widely, but how many believed their unlikely tale?

All this stifled communication led to the fact that Jesus’ birth meant absolutely nothing to society at the time because they didn’t even know about it.

And yet, God had already acted decisively to set in motion a plan that would change everything. 

Just because the masses didn’t know the Messiah had been born didn’t change the fact that He had been. It didn’t change the fact that God was at work behind the scenes building up to the most significant intervention in human history. By the time people started noticing, thirty years had passed!

All through those years when Israel felt abandoned by God, they were unaware that He knew about their sorrow and suffering, just as He had known about the plight of their ancestors in Egypt. 

And He once again kept His Covenant promises and was already at work on a plan. What peace they would have had if only they had known that the plan was unfolding and they simply had to wait thirty more years, such a brief moment of time in human history.

In our current world filled with so much wrong, we are once again in that type of situation. Maybe God is once again doing something new behind the scenes and we will see its effect in thirty years. Or maybe God already did something thirty years ago and its effect will be revealed soon, maybe even later today! There are so many possibilities! And, while God has not communicated His specific plans to us, we can be sure that our Father is never remote from us and He is not idle.

Christmas is a beautiful reminder that God remembers us. Just like at the time of Jesus’ birth, He knows our circumstances, feels what we are feeling, and cares for us more than we could ever imagine. We can be confident that He does have a plan in motion, whether we see evidence of it or not. 

Friends, this Christmas, let’s embrace the reassurance that our Father is in control and actively at work in our world, giving us hope, once again.

Merry Christmas to you from myself, the board, and the staff at CCCC!

A number of churches have asked permission to share this post with their congregations. The answer is “Yes.” Please do two things:

  1. Attribute it to: Rev. John Pellowe, CEO, Canadian Centre for Christian Charities
  2. Use the email icon on this page just to let me know that you are using it.

Thoughts on Hope for the Church: Christmas & God the Father

      1. Darrell Bierman

        Thanks so much for sharing this word of encouragement John. All week long I’ve been clinging to Isaiah 41:10 and how that “I am with you” is expressed most clearly in Christ (Matthew 1:22-23).

        Reply
        1. Darrell Bierman

          John, I’m not distributing your entire blog with my congregation; however, I do quote you from it. The specific quote =

          In our world today there are so many ways to lose hope because so many things are wrong—to name a few, there’s the pandemic, political polarization, racism, injustice, terrorism, and declining interest in Christian faith.

          And I give name recognition to you – and organizational recognition. In this week’s sermon which you can locate at: http://www.rivercitychurch.org

          Reply

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