“and hope does not disappoint us…”
| Romans 5.5, NRSV
It is okay to hope even when there are reasons for which we could or even should feel hopeless. There is nothing wrong with holding out for hope. Jesus comes as an expression of God’s hope. God was and is holding out hope for us. God is still waiting on us, hoping that a cute little baby might entice us to come closer to faith.
When God wanted to save us, God did not send money, throw a rope or life vest. No, God came in Person. God sent the Word made flesh in Jesus the Christ. Because according to Isaiah’s record, “(This word) must perform; it cannot return empty but (will) accomplish that which (God) purposes and succeed in the thing for which (God) sent it” (Isaiah 55.11).
And in Jesus, God will come fully committed to the task. No angelic detail, no clouds, no halos, no wings, no baby cherubs with harps playing. No, Jesus is God on a mission. No cape or theme music, Jesus will not just save the day but our souls. He needs no extra help but will win the victory in the same flesh as we.
This was the plan from the beginning. Jesus is our ram in the bush, our lamb that was slain (Revelation 5.12). Jesus will come with the end in mind, “about his Father’s business” and it is all that he can think about (Luke 2.49). No matter how large the crowds or how seemingly devoted his disciples, Jesus does not come for fame or followers. But he will die for the most people, all people.
But first he will be born to an unwed teenager named Mary, who in her society and because of her gender would be the least likely to succeed in carrying such a message. Still, she will be called by God. Mary will accept the mantle of motherhood, giving birth to the Savior of the world. It will nearly end her relationship with Joseph, whom she is engaged to and certainly will change her wedding plans. That doesn’t just take guts; it requires hope. Mary says to the angel, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word” (Luke 1.38, NRSV).
Lord, may we yield as Mary, the mother of Jesus, did because we have hope and according to Your word, trusting that neither will disappoint us. Amen.