December 31, 2016
READ: Luke 2:8-20
Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased (v.14).
A mere half-hour watching the news today can fill one with despair as we witness the effects of greed, with despair as we witness the effects of greed, selfishness, and depravity. It pains the heart to see the utter devastation of the downtrodden. As we take in such brokenness it can lead us to lower our weary heads and simply trudge through life one day at a time—hope for a better tomorrow diminishing with each passing moment.
The shepherds watching their flocks the night Jesus was born might have felt the same way (Luke 2:8). On the lowest rung of society, their future prospects seemed dim at best. Imagine their awe when the night sky lit up with the radiance of God’s glory! (v.14). Unable to sit still after the angel’s joyful news, they rushed to Bethlehem to see this new hope for themselves (vv.10-11,15-16).
Every announcement of His arrival on earth expressed God’s intention towards mankind—peace, goodwill, and salvation (vv.10-11,14). At a time when Roman oppression made the future look bleak, Jesus came forth as a shining beacon of better times ahead.
Each New Year’s Eve—no matter how rough the previous 12 months were—we dig deep down and rustle up anticipation for a new beginning. While there’s nothing wrong with hoping for a happier year, it’s much better to base our hope on the one sure foundation—Jesus.
His birth, death, and resurrection provide us with real hope— hope far greater than a fingers-crossed wish driven by the calendar.
As we make our New Year resolutions for 2017, may we forge a commitment to the hope Jesus holds out. Drawing closer to the Savior of our souls and seeking Him in truth will cause real hope to abound and flourish as it springs us into an eternal certainty.
365-day plan: Revelation 22:1-21
Read Isaiah 9:1-7 to see the prophecy of hope based in Jesus and His coming to earth.
Does the prospect of a new year fill you with anticipation or trepidation? How does the hope Jesus offers factor into your response?