Christmas Gifts: Jesus came to give us abiding hope
We love to give gifts at Christmas. Why? Because it’s what God did. He gave the greatest gift that could ever be given. Jesus came to give us the gift of hope, peace, joy, and love.
Something To Talk About:
The true gift of Christmas is Jesus and the peace, love, and joy He brings to our hearts and lives. Jesus brings joy to the world and hope to our lives in the message of Christmas. Truly a Saviour has been born. This Christmas take a moment to reflect and share the true gift of Christmas that was freely given to you.
- Jesus as my counselor reveals God’s love for me: Wonderful Counselor is the first title referring to the Messiah, found once throughout the Bible, in Isaiah’s prophecy (Isaiah 9:6). It was a promise of hope to Israel of the coming Savior who will deliver His people and establish His kingdom. This life of ours is a journey of faith. We do not know what is ahead of us, and for His reasons, God does not tell us about the everyday events that we can expect – neither the triumphs we will enjoy nor the tragedies we will endure – but God has graciously provided us with a Counselor. He is Wonderful and a Wonderful Counselor. He has the unique and incomparable ability to know all the plans and purposes of God for time and the eternal ages. He administers government using justice and righteousness because He is the Eternal Son of the Eternal God, without beginning or end. He knows the results of all the things unknown to us.
- Jesus as the mighty God is in control of all things: We’ve all been on the business end of someone who’s a control freak. It is not pretty when someone is trying to control everything in their life and yours. It usually doesn’t end well when we try to play God. A good example is King Herod in the Christmas story. King Herod (who ruled that part of the world) heard about Jesus’ birth and did everything he could to have Him killed. The wise men had told Herod that they were seeking the newborn king of the Jews—and Herod was determined to stamp out any potential rival to his throne. Herod, however, did not reveal his evil plans to the wise men. Instead, he urged them to find the baby and then to return and tell him where the newborn King could be found so he too could go and worship Him. He thought he could control what God had set in motion. This story and many others in the Bible remind us that God is in control and He alone will be victorious. We should surrender to Him rather than try to control what we cannot control. Some things make absolute sense for us to control and we should do so. Surrendering to God is not a license to let go of responsibility – it is not a license to kick back and do nothing – but if it doesn’t make any sense for us to control it then we should not try to do so.
- Jesus as the everlasting Father keeps His promises: We all move in the direction of the promises we believe. The Bible says God has promises for you and me. If we believe that’s true, it’s in our best interest to move in His direction—to draw near to God. Trusting in God is our ultimate formula for hope. The more consumed with fear we become, the more distant God seems to be. That’s why, when anxiety grips your heart, you should make a concerted effort to stand on the promises of the Bible from God to you personally. The writer of the book of Hebrews concluded that faith is the substance of our hope. He said, “Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see.” (Hebrews 11:1) Hope comes from believing the promises of God. “But now Jesus, our High Priest, has been given a ministry that is far superior to the old priesthood, for he is the one who mediates for us a far better covenant with God, based on better promises.”(Hebrews 8:6). Those better promises inspire hope and faith that will sustain us through times of fear.
- Jesus as the Prince of Peace has made peace between God and me: Jesus is called the Prince of Peace because He offers peace to us amid the struggles of life. Because of Him, we can have peace with God and others. This title, “Prince of Peace,” presents Jesus as the antidote to the peace we are searching for in the world. This means that the peace Jesus provides by His work on the cross is more than a negotiated ceasefire between ourselves and God. It is a peace that changes us from enemies of God into the children of God. “God himself was pleased to live fully in his Son. And God was pleased for him to make peace by sacrificing his blood on the cross, so that all beings in heaven and on earth would be brought back to God. You used to be far from God. Your thoughts made you his enemies, and you did evil things.” (Colossians 1:19-21). The Prince of Peace has brought to us the opportunity to have peace with God.
- Hope is a vital component of how we relate to God. Agree or disagree and why?
- One problem with hope is that we convince ourselves we don’t need hope. Read Matthew 1:18-25 and talk about how the coming of Jesus brings us hope that we didn’t think we need. What sticks out to you most in this account?
- A second problem with hope is we think hope equals optimism. How is it different?
- A third problem with hope is that we often put our hope in all the wrong things. What do you need to change to put your hope in the right place?
- The final problem with hope is that we think hope is only about the future. Talk about how we can hope in Jesus today, so we don’t have to wait until tomorrow. What is one thing you’re hopeful for right now?
- In the song “O Little Town of Bethlehem,” there is a line “the hopes and fears of all the years are met in Thee tonight.” In what way does Jesus replace our fears with hope?
- Share how you can be a hope dealer at Christmas and in 2024?
- Is there an area of your life where you need more hope? What promises or hopes are you currently waiting for God to fulfill?
- Christmas is a reminder that God is active in our world and that He does keep His promises. Be reminded that neither your faithfulness nor your hope in God is in vain. Like the characters in the first Christmas story, and the generations that preceded them . . . wait faithfully. How can we do the same?
- God restores generously. Share a way that God has blessed you with more than you had hoped for.
- What was your main takeaway from this week’s message?
Take One Thing Home with You:
Christmas means hope . . . hope for a better future. After another year filled with peaks and valleys, we are looking for hope. A hope for a better tomorrow. Over two thousand years ago, people were looking for a sign of a better future. Although the coming of the Messiah had been prophesied throughout the Old Testament, most missed the significance of the unusual events transpiring in the city of Bethlehem, as hope broke through the darkness and forever transformed our world. Today, it is still easy to miss the real meaning of the season. Our hope, however, is found in the sacrifice Jesus made for us, hope born through a virgin, laid in a manger, and eventually, nailed to a cross. What a gift God has given us. If anyone has a reason for hope, as followers of Jesus, we do. If ever there was a gift to celebrate, this is it! And like that star, over 2000 years ago, we can point people to Jesus!