Dr. Stanley Spence, Pastor First Baptist Church, Lincolnton, N.C.
With expectancy and hope the Israelite people hoped for their Messiah. As is usually the case, life circumstances had tempered their expectations about the future happening in their lifetime. They were dull of senses and anticipation this Messiah would arrive at anytime. Still, there were signs and wonders loosening the crustiness of delayed satisfaction. The Romans were not easy conquerors. The religious leaders wanting to hold fast to the identity of the chosen people of God and were defying the Romans by actually cracking down on their own people in religious law obedience. The people were victimized twice in some circles; they could not pay the temple tax and the Romans were making it harder to scrape out a living. It became a vicious circle of suffering.
Life can do that to human beings. Circumstances can create what seems like an endless loop of suffering, failure, and loss of footing. Just ask the victims of the recent fires in California or the victims of the earthquake in Alaska or the victims of the snow storm we just endured. While some seemed unaffected, others’ lives were being ultimately changed forever.
Hope came in the form of a child of promise when Jesus was born. It was the beginning of the great reversal of life. Yet He walked right into the jaws of the loop of suffering with his eyes wide open. Having lived a life of worship, kindness and mercy for all to see He became the threat and victim of those who believed they were the dispensers of order and privilege. They crucified him.
God, however, raised him from the dead. It was the greatest reversal of all time. We now have hope because of what He endured for us. God will make it right is the promise we hold onto in the dark and broken days of life. The birth of a child was the sign of hope coming into being. Let us see this season again for the reversal it represents for us and all who love his appearing.
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