I have never experienced a day quite like it. July 7, 2017, the day my precious daughter was born early in the morning and my sweet grandmother entered eternity with Jesus that evening. It is hard to put into words the wave of emotions that surrounded that day. I remember great joy and adrenaline as I gave birth and held that brand-new life for the first time and the sadness and shock that accompanied a phone call in the hospital room with the news of my grandmother breathing her last breath.
But regardless of the wave of emotions, the exhaustion, and surprise that occurred throughout the day, what I remember the most vividly was the hope in Christ that pulled all the pieces together.
My grandmother was a witness of the Gospel. She lived with eyes wide open and saw people with compassion and a deep desire for them to meet the Jesus she loved. Early that morning on the day she met Jesus in eternity, her great-granddaughter was born and given the name Reneé which means “rebirth or born again.” Every person who is born again into relationship with Jesus has hope for eternity.
I wonder about the emotions that may have occurred at the birth of Jesus. I imagine Mary and Joseph walked through joy, exhaustion, uncertainty, surprise, and hope because their God, Yahweh, was sending His Son to step down from heaven to be born as a human. They did not know what the future would look like. They did not know the grief they would one day encounter with Christ’s death, but I can imagine they had much hope as they held a miracle baby who embodied both God and humanity.
Look at my Servant, whom I have chosen.
He is my Beloved, who pleases me.
I will put my Spirit upon him,
and he will proclaim justice to the nations.
He will not fight or shout
or raise his voice in public.
He will not crush the weakest reed
or put out a flickering candle.
Finally he will cause justice to be victorious.
And his name will be the hope
of all the world.”
‒ Matthew 12:18-21
Take some time to answer these questions as a group:
- Have you ever had an experience in your life when you struggled through a variety of emotions but knew that there was hope in it?
- What do you think Mary and Joseph would have been feeling in the birth of Christ?
- How has God given you hope this year? What are your hopes for this holiday season?
- How can this group pray for areas in your life where you are struggling to hope?
As you enter this Christmas season, would you join me in praying and asking God to remind us of the beautiful hope He has given us through the birth of Jesus and our redemption through the Christ? May it also continue to stir in each of our lives a deep desire for the people we encounter to meet the Jesus we love!
"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”
‒ 1 Peter 1:3, NIV
Director of Field Ministry