Christmas is about Jesus. It is a time to celebrate His coming. In fact, Christmas is about the hope of Jesus coming to a world in need. During this time of year one way Southern Baptists celebrate Christmas is by giving to missions through the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. As I think about Christmas, missions, and the hope of Jesus, I am reminded of attending my first commissioning service for the International Mission Board several years ago.
As each missionary stood on stage and offered a couple minute synopsis of where they were going and what they would be doing, one couple concluded, “They (the people group they were going to serve) don’t know yet, but hope is on the way!” Everyone in the service was moved by the reality of their sacrifice to go, but even more so by the pronouncement of the hope they were bringing.
This pronouncement of coming hope is the message of Christmas. Long ago during the dark of the night, shepherds were given a pronouncement of hope. As glory lit up the night sky, the angel announced, “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luk 2:11). The Shepherds didn’t know it, but hope had come.
As I sit some 2,000 years later waiting for Christmas Day to come in a few days, I am reminded again that hope is coming. Yes, the hope of Christmas, but in a way different than past years for my family. You see, my family has been in a process for over three years to adopt a child from Africa. Just a few weeks ago we received the overwhelming news that a little girl is now waiting for us to bring her home.
She doesn’t know it yet, but hope is on the way! Just as God set His love on us and planned to save us before the foundation of the world (Eph 1:4), He promised to bring us into His family by adoption through Jesus (Eph 1:5). God’s plan to love us and save us would come forth in Christ at just the right time (Eph 1:9-10). This is the message of Christmas—Jesus has come, and He brings us into His family through adoption!
Just as those Shepherds long ago didn’t see it coming, hope arrived at just the right time. Though our daughter doesn’t know it yet, hope is on the way. And as is always the case with God, hope will be right on time!