The Hopes & Fears of All The Years

Been thinking a lot about various Christmas songs, their lyrics, the mystery and passion of that first Christmas- the real one, not the mere myths, fantasy and advertisement stuff that passes for Xmas in many folk’s minds.

So one of what some may consider a cheesy song (“Oh Little Town of Bethlehem”) or merely a children’s tune is on my radar today. Consider: “the hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight”.

Hmmm. Hope in a time such as Newtown, Connecticut along with so many other issues of concern? Fear perhaps -but hope??

I think the author had “met” down cold.

It’s about Bethlehem, the place the Savior of the world was born, God came down as fully God and fully man. In Jesus Christ, in that time and place the hopes (salvation, forgiveness, grace, the un-earnable favor of God, eternal life, peace) and fears (is there any hope, any safe future, any sure passage through this “veil of tears”, anything or anyone worthy of faith in an eternal heaven with God and those who have loved and served Him, any assurance of eternal life after death?) indeed faced off in the Person of Christ.

Guess what? God had His way and shall have it.

Christmas is all about Him. So does this mean all suffering ends (even for a moment) on December 25th? Certainly not.

As a friend and colleague pointed out recently, Herod conspired and carried out the slaughter of a number of innocent children, two years of age and under, within a couple years of Jesus’ birth. If not for an angel speaking to Joseph in a dream to “take the child down to Egypt and remain there until God instructs you for Herod seeks to find the child to kill him” the story would have ended then and there.

I find it amazing that so many shrug off the Bible when it is so blatant in it’s histories, especially not leaving the harsh and cruel realities of life out of the picture. There is little “window dressing” to the “fears” of this life in scripture. If one studies the New Testament there are plenty such difficult references so it’s not just Old Testament stories of brutality I’m thinking of.

So what about hope? The hope of Bethlehem is in the Person of Jesus Christ, not in strategies to solve fiscal cliffs, terrorism, nuclear disarmament or global warming. Jesus told us “In the world you shall have tribulation”. No surprise.

No- the surprise is truly hope!

I admit hope came my way as a rather shocking surprise the night of my own conversion to faith in the risen Jesus.

I would say the hopes and fears are met in the One born in Bethlehem.

Now if we can only move on into “Go Where I Send Thee”!

Thanks for stopping by, -Glenn

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