We three kings of orient are Bearing gifts, we traverse so far Field and fountain, moor and mountain Following yonder star We add them to the Christmas story every winter and yet, perhaps the most mysterious accessories to the Nativity tale are those “three kings of Orient.” Who are they? And where did they come…
The grave is not the end of life nor is it the last time we will see our loved ones. Because God in Christ took on flesh and blood, died on the cross, and rose again we will have life eternal and our bodies will be glorified. No more cancer, no more Alzheimer’s, no more heart disease, no more pain — only glory. So let us celebrate this hope.
When hope is fulfilled, there is joy. When Simeon and Anna saw their hope fulfilled, what was their response? Simeon held Jesus in his arms (quite a contrast to the role Jesus plays as the Good Shepherd!) and praised God. “My eyes have seen your salvation,” he said. Anna also thanked God and then immediately went about the task of sharing the good news that the messiah had finally come to Israel.
One day in the future, someone will ask about us — what kind of a person we were, what our hobbies were, what our faith was like. What will they learn about you? What do you want them to know?
Are you living in the knowledge that the King will return any day? Are you doing your best to live in godliness and be found holy for that day? Or are you living with the mindset that Christ won’t return in your lifetime — that you’d better get the most out of this life before you die and go to heaven?
We often wonder why God allows suffering and evil in this world. Why someone like Saddam Hussein could kill 10,000 people without a second thought. Or how millions could die in Rwanda, Congo and Sudan because of pure hatred. We wonder why the rich keep stomping on the poor without penalty and why the righteous seem made to suffer. “Where is the justice, O Lord?” the prophet Habakkuk cried out (Hab. 1:2- 4). We rarely seem to recognize it, don’t we?
We are celebrating hope this week, and the very mention of a place name brought great hope for the people of Israel. Micah prophesied it and the people waited. But the prophecy came in 700 B.C. and the messiah 700 years later. A lot happens in 700 years and people forget. So when Jesus was born, the people had forgotten.
Human hope knows nothing. It’s guesswork. It is based on well wishing and not given fact. This doesn’t make it bad. It just doesn’t make it reliable. Biblical hope, on the other hand, has God at its foundation and is based on promised certainty, not well wishes.