During the Christmas season, many Christians reflect on four major attributes that God brings us and that we should have during not only this time of year but always. These attributes include hope, love, joy, and peace. These are certainties Jesus brought with him when he was born. In this Christmas series study, we’re going to look at these attributes and see why we celebrate them and what they have to do with Jesus. So let us begin with our study on the importance of Jesus’ birth and what he brought.
Let’s start with hope. The word “hope” is one we use quite often in our vocabulary. But in biblical terms, the word “hope” means something much greater and points to something much deeper. Well, biblically speaking, what is it that we are hoping for? Why have hope? What we are hoping for is the return of Christ to bring us to eternal life. It is only through Jesus that we gain eternal life. John 3:16 tells us that, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” It is through Jesus that we have eternal life. Without Jesus, there is no eternal life and without eternal life, there is no hope. This is why Jesus is so important, this is why Jesus had to come and die and be raised to life. He came to a broken and evil world to restore the hope of those who believe in him. What better reason to praise God!
It is easy to say to have hope but is becomes much harder when hardships arise. Peter paints a beautiful picture of this hope and what we hope for in 1 Peter 1:3-6. Let’s look at this passage. It says,
“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, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.”
The resurrection of Jesus brings life to the hope we have. Without the resurrection, there would be no conqueror over death and therefore there would be no hope. But look at how Peter describes this hope. He describes it as a “living” hope. It is a hope with life in it. It is a hope that is not dead and void, but full of life and light. It shines brightly in the midst of darkness. This is the hope Peter speaks of and the kind of hope we should have because of Jesus.
Peter also goes on to speak of the result of our hope. The result of our hope is the inheritance in heaven, an eternal inheritance that is life with God forever. However, it is not always a jolly, happy road to get there. Peter ends by saying that although they suffer now from trials and grief, he reminds them to keep their eyes on the prize. To keep their minds on the inheritance of eternal life they get. We must also do the same. We will suffer, we will be persecuted, but we must rejoice and continually remind ourselves of the eternal life we will receive someday for remaining faithful. This is true hope in God through Christ Jesus.
Thanks be to God that we can have hope of eternal life because of Christ’s death and resurrection. This is what we should celebrate and remember this Christmas season and always, we have a living hope in Christ Jesus.