The Hope of Christmas
Oh sing to the LORD a new song,
for he has done marvelous things!
His right hand and his holy arm
have worked salvation for him.
The LORD has made known his salvation;
he has revealed his righteousness in the sight of the nations.
He has remembered his steadfast love and faithfulness
to the house of Israel.
All the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation of our God.
Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth;
break forth into joyous song and sing praises!
Sing praises to the LORD with the lyre,
with the lyre and the sound of melody!
With trumpets and the sound of the horn
make a joyful noise before the King, the LORD!
Let the sea roar, and all that fills it;
the world and those who dwell in it!
Let the rivers clap their hands;
let the hills sing for joy together
before the LORD, for he comes
to judge the earth.
He will judge the world with righteousness,
and the peoples with equity.
As we find ourselves in the midst of the Advent season, I am reminded that advent is more about longing for our Savior’s second coming than it is celebrating His first coming. The word advent means, coming, and it is not the past but the future that we long for as Christians. The joy of the Christmas season is anchored in the future, hope-filled, expectation of the return of our King.
Psalm 98 does a wonderful job of focusing our hearts and minds on both the joy of the incarnation, the hope of the resurrection, and the return of our great king. It reminds us how God has MADE KNOWN his salvation and how we long for and hope in the future return and judgment of the Lord.
The Israelites remembered God’s gracious, loving acts of salvation from their slavery in Egypt and longed for the coming of the promised messiah. We too, remember the amazing love of God in sending his one-of-a-kind son (John 3:16), to be the payment for our sins (1 John 4:10), who rose from the dead (1 Peter 1:3), who has promised to return and establish his eternal kingdom here with us (Acts 1:11). We remember how God has made known His salvation to us, through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. By God’s sovereign power, He raised Jesus from the dead and gives to all those who believe in his one-of-a-kind son, eternal life!
So, let us make a joyful noise to the Lord for what He has done for us. We rejoice in what God has done in sending Jesus to be our Savior as we sing songs like, O’ Holy night, The First
Noel, and Joy to the World. One of my favorite Christmas songs, O come, O come, Emmanuel, reminds us of our future longing with hopeful anticipation of the return of our great King. We rejoice for he is coming back to judge the earth.
Many people don’t like the word judgment, but future judgment is good news! It is good news for both the believer and unbeliever, because it is future, there is still time for you to repent, give your life to Jesus, be saved from your sins, and receive His eternal life. And it is also good news for those of us who belong to him, because we know that the injustices of this world will not go unchecked forever, and that one day all the sad things will be undone!
This advent season with all the craziness of both the Holidays and 2020, let us remember that our hope is not found in who our President is, what vaccines will be offered, or how comfortable and safe we feel in this life. Our hope is in the future return of our great Savior and King Jesus. This is the hope of Christmas!
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. (Romans 15:13)