We can trust and celebrate in the promise of hope God gives us because Jesus.
Tis the Season! Season’s Greetings. Jesus is the reason for the season. This time of year these phrases can be seen everywhere, and when your name is Season it’s the only time your name will appear on anything. Each year, my mother loved to capitalize on the opportunity to use my name in clever ways. She would have me change our family’s answering machine greeting (remember those?) to, “Tis the Season! You’ve reached the Marshall family,” and she would sign our family Christmas cards with, “Love, Jerry, Debby, and Season’s greetings.” I was not a fan.
It wasn’t until I was older that I began to appreciate the beauty and significance of this time of year. The season of Advent leading up to Christmas invites us to slow down and meditate on the hope, love, joy, and peace given to us because of the long-awaited promise fulfilled by the birth of Jesus. The word advent means arrival. It’s a neat and tidy word but the experience of waiting for an arrival often brings angst.
When I found out my best friend was pregnant, I was so excited. She was the first of my friends to be pregnant, and because I am an only child, I didn’t have much experience with babies. I was ready to be the best auntie ever, but my friend and her husband had very different feelings. We were all full-time actors making a living on the stage. They were so worried that they wouldn’t have enough money, time, or energy to care for their child. Their eyes were wide with fear, and while they were happy to be having a baby, you could feel their terror.
My best friend’s grandmother shared a piece of wisdom that stuck with me. “Oh honey, all babies are born with a loaf of bread under their arm.” It’s an old Hebrew saying (and often found in Spanish-speaking cultures) meaning that parents need not worry about the costs to feed and raise a child because God will provide a way. The promise will come with provision.
“Don’t be afraid!” the angel said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior – yes, the Messiah, the Lord – has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.” Luke 2:10-12 (NLT)
Hope is a beautiful thing, but anticipation can be a real killer, or so the saying goes. The reason for the torture is the threat of disappointment and the fear of the unknown. Most of us have had a few too many pie crust promises crumble in our hands. Unfulfilled promises can cause great disappointment, even anger and pain.
As children, the promises of our parents hold a lot of weight. I didn’t have any children of my own when I married my husband. We met, and married ten weeks later, and I became an insta-mom to his three daughters who were 6, 8, and 10. Talk about a crash course in parenting! Being a mom made me quickly aware of the words that came out of my mouth. The casual statements, “Sure, we can go get frozen yogurt after school” or “Yes, we can go see the puppies at the store tomorrow,” weren’t quickly forgotten! “You promised!” would ring out from the backseat. Yes, I did, and I wanted to be true to my word. I wanted them to trust me.
Baby Jesus was born with a loaf of bread for the whole world! In fact, He was born in Bethlehem which, when translated, means “the house of bread.”
Jesus says of Himself in John 6:35:
“I am the bread of life; whoever comes to Me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in Me shall never thirst.”
He compared his own body to bread as he broke a loaf and said:
“This is my body given for you…” (Matthew 26:26).
He was the bread that not only would satisfy the world, but he said of himself:
“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 6:35).
Jesus was both the fulfilled promise and the provision.
Jesus didn’t only bring freedom and joy to the Israelites. Isaiah 49:5-6 indicates that while Jesus was in the womb the plan was for Him to also be a light to the Gentiles and all people to the ends of the earth.
He fulfilled a promise to you too – a promise you may not even know you were waiting for. His birth brought joy to you by answering your cry to be saved. The Lord heard you.
When you lost hope, He answered.
When you cried out in fear, He answered.
When you were abandoned and alone, He answered.
He answered you by being born.
The Father’s one and only Son entered this world to save you. While you may not have felt it in the moment, that cry for help was heard and answered. Even though that answer came over 2000 years ago, it is supernaturally effective in this very moment – as if in your exact moment of need, the baby Jesus was born just for you. It’s as if the angel who proclaimed at the birth of Jesus, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy” was saying it directly to you.
I heard hope described as, “the joyful anticipation of good.” Because of the faithfulness of Jesus, His constant presence, and His abundant provision, we do not have to wait for the outcome to experience joy. He is here. He is our joy.
Jesus is the reason for the season, so let’s celebrate!
Season is an author, speaker, and radio host. Everyday she encourages people to grab hold of the joy of the good news of Jesus and bring it everywhere through her Joy Bringer radio segment heard nationwide. Her first book, The Joy Bringer Challenge is coming out soon, find out more at seasonbowers.com