“Twas’ the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse…”
All our young children, no doubt, had gingerbread men and toys galore dancing in their heads as they went off to sleep on Christmas Eve (since children don’t know what “visions of sugar-plums” are anymore). Yet for us adults, those feelings of excitement and anticipation may feel like a faraway memory.
Just pause for a moment. Can you remember what that felt like? Maybe for you that elation is no longer in receiving gifts galore, but in the thrill of seeing how your children or grandchildren respond when they open the gifts you give them. Perhaps that sense of excitement is now more closely paralleled in adulthood by events like:
“I’m getting married next month!”
Do you remember that feeling? Or maybe for you it is…
“I’m closing on a new house tomorrow!” or “We’re finally going on our long-awaited vacation!”
I’m fairly certain we all looked forward to Christmas this year. Yet now that it’s past – the wrapping paper is in the trash, the batteries are already dead, and the seasonal sales are no more – what’s next? New Year’s Day, the Super Bowl… Next Christmas? Well, sure.
But many of us may feel and look sort of like my son Hudson’s Advent calendar, which he quickly chowed through two weeks before Christmas. Behold:
All our time and energy goes into “that one day” and when that day is done, many of us might be happy but a lot of us feel wiped out, burned out, let down, or downright empty.
But what if the biggest thing you and your family looked forward was something more, something that would never let down?
Is there a hope that never dies…
that sustains you,
energizes you…and even dramatically changes your focus about everything?
Post-Holiday Season Hope (that lasts)
God, the Creator of all things, Sustainer of life, and Savior of mankind offers us joy in this life. But even more so, a hope – THE BLESSED HOPE – beyond this present, fractured world.
Over and over again throughout the Old and New Testaments, God was and is pointing His people to hope, to hope for the consummation of His plan of redemption. However, it is not a fly-by-night hope, a “I hope so” attitude that matters very little in everyday life. No, God’s message of hope for His people changes everything… about our future and about our present.
God’s message of hope is ringing like a song throughout every book of the Bible.
We could go to nearly any page in the scriptures to hear the anthem. But let’s just turn to several key passages from Daniel, Zechariah, and Revelation, which paint the surprising landscape portrait of hope for Israel, God’s chosen nation (who He still has a specific future plan for) and for us, the believing Gentiles, who have been grafted in by His grace and “made heirs according to the promise of the hope of eternal life” (Titus 3:7; cf. Romans 8:17).
Let’s turn first to Daniel 7:13-14, 27 for our first glimpse of the consummation of redemption. At this juncture, we’re not going into the specific timing of end-time events, but instead focusing on the centerpiece of the whole event… at the overarching theme and finding it in One person, One King, who is returning…
For Post-Holiday Season Hope (that lasts) we’ll journey toward 3 hope-giving truths and one central call-to-action as as we move from Daniel 7:13-14 to Zechariah 3:8-10; 6:13; 14:9 and wrapping up with Revelation 22:1-5.
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This sermon entitled “The Heart of Christmas (Part 4): Consummation” was delivered at North Park Baptist Church of Grand Rapids, MI on Sunday morning Dec. 27th 2015.