Devotional,  Holiday

Bethlehem: Where Hopes Are Realized And Fears Relieved

I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to lead the worship at church the past few weeks.  And we are in the full swing of Christmas music!  We’ve been singing everything from my favorite Sovereign Grace Christmas album to the classic carols proclaiming the Savior’s birth. 

When I’m leading, I like to get there pretty early to run through the music, make sure the keys are right, and just get a little bit more comfortable with the set before the band shows up to practice.  I was doing just that this past week, when the Lord showed up and totally changed my Christmas season.

I was working through the traditional carol “O Little Town Of Bethlehem”.  After I’d run through it a few times to get the music right (Christmas carols have the WORST chords in them), I went through it again focusing on the lyrics.  As I headed to toward the end of the verse, I sang the lyrics…

“Oh little town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie.

Above thy deep and dreamless sleep, the silent stars go by.

Yet in thy dark streets shineth, the everlasting light.

The hopes and fears of all the years are met in Thee tonight.”

As I started into the turn around, it’s like the atmosphere physically changed in the room. I stopped playing and re-read it.

“The hopes and fears of all the years are met in Thee tonight.”

And then the weight of that statement hit me like a ton of bricks. 

Think about it.  The hopes and fears of all the years.  That’s a lot of hopes, fears, and years.  Everything we hope for or long for in those moments of hopelessness.  The secret fears we don’t tell anyone about.  For all the years- from Adam up until now.  Jesus, the little baby in the stable, came for all of that.

As I sat there pondering this fact, it got weightier; until I felt tears stinging behind my eyes.  Tears of wonder that the God of this world really cares about me that much.  And not just me, but the billions upon billions of people who have ever walked this planet and are still destined to do so.

And for a moment, I just sat there soaking in the depths of this kind of love, sitting at my Savior’s feet in gratitude.  Just sitting.

Then I looked at the clock and realized that the band would be there in ten minutes, and puffy eyes might scare them off. So I went back to working through the music.

And it was in that moment, that Christmas changed for me this year.

We celebrate that Jesus Christ was born, marking the start of His perfect life journey to the cross. The cross that Jesus, the God-man who had never sinned a day in His life, died a brutal ugly death on when He didn’t even come close to deserving it. He was by very nature perfect royalty, deserving of perfect majesty as the Creator of the universe. But He humbled Himself and gave His very life for humanity that had turned against Him.

But He didn’t stay dead.  Just three days later, He burst out of the grave and proved that He could pay for our sin and provide us with a hope and a future.

That night in Bethlehem was the start of the salvation bought for you and me.  Not just a get-out-of-hell card, but a promise of a life more abundant.  A life of joy and a future filled with hope and gladness.  A life that will never end, spent in that same majesty that Jesus stepped out of to come down and save us.

And it all started in that little town of Bethlehem, when Mary gave birth to the sweet baby Jesus.  And as He lay there with His scrunchy little infant face, He was already setting in motion the fulfillment of our hopes and the quieting of our fears.

He came for my deep seeded fear of failure.  He came for those insecurities I feel as a wife and stepmom.  He came for the dreams born out of the heart He created long ago.  He came for the hopes that I’m too embarrassed to share.  And He came for the hopes that have been let down.  He came for the most intimate desires of my deepest heart.  Desires that nothing in this world can satisfy.

As I write this, it’s the 27th anniversary of the day that I gave my life to Christ.  As a kid, I understood the very basics of the gospel.  The truth that I screwed things up and couldn’t be perfect on my own, but God was perfect and that was a problem.  I understood that Jesus (also perfect) paid for my screw ups and offers me the benefits that He earned, because I can’t.  And 27 years ago, little 6 year old Kala asked Jesus to take over her life and call the shots.

And He’s done amazing things since.  I’ve not always been the most faithful, but He has remained faithful.  To this day, I’m still learning more and more about who He is, and am still turning over hopes and fears on the daily.

Will you give Him your heart, and everything that it contains? He is faithful, and will hold on to it tightly, never letting go. And if you turn to Him and trust that His death and resurrection is the ONLY thing that can give you a clean slate and a promised home in Heaven, then your hopes and fears are safe.

“The hopes and fear of all the years are met in Thee tonight.”

One Comment

  • Sharon+Richardson

    Thank you Kala for being so transparent. Your thoughts are similar to mine but you are a better writer. I am amazed that
    God uses insignificant people in His plan. So thankful for His plan to rescue us from sin and darkness of not knowing Him. Thank you for writing.

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