Hope in a Manger

Pastor Larry Sundin

Pastor Larry Sundin

A brilliant man once said, “If our greatest need had been information, God would have sent us an educator. If our greatest need had been technology, God would have sent us a scientist. If our greatest need would have been money, God would have sent us an economist. But since our greatest need was forgiveness, God sent us a Savior.” And it was this good news that the Angel announced to the lowly Shepherds on the very first Christmas over 2,000 years ago: “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.” Luke 2:11-12

What I love about the good news of Christ’s birth is that this child born in a manger, was not just born to bring us forgiveness, He was born to bring us hope. After all, Jesus was born just like us. He was fully human in every way. He messed his pants, stubbed his toes, and scraped his knees. He grew up, hit puberty, got sick, woke up disoriented, sneezed, scratched his armpits, worked hard, and came home exhausted. Even in the midst of his ministry, he got hungry and thirsty, sad, angry, and frustrated. He laughed, cried, fought temptation of every kind, and experienced physical death. In his birth, he was vulnerable. In his boyhood, he was inquisitive. As an adult, he was a full-blooded, calloused-handed man. He was human, just like us.

So how then does this baby born in a manger give us hope? It’s simple: Jesus knows what it’s like to be you. He knows your struggles with sin. He knows your worries and fears. He’s aware of all your weaknesses and temptations. He knows what it is like to be unloved, rejected, and betrayed. And he knows what it’s like to be judged, abused, and tortured. And yet, He was willing to become one of us so we could come to know Him as our Savior and King. He was born in that manger so He could offer up His life in our place and become our redeemer.

Here’s where the hope found in Jesus begins to hit home. For when you trust in Him to be your Savior, He doesn’t just forgive every sin, He takes them away once and for all and forever. He cleans your heart and gives you a fresh start. He sets you free. Jesus sets you free from your sins, from your past, from your guilt, and from your fears. He makes it so that God is no longer a divine judge to be feared, but a generous Father who delights to be with you. He makes it so that God is no longer against you but for you. That’s the hope that’s found in the manger. And that’s just the beginning of the blessings that are found in this little bundle of joy wrapped in swaddling clothes. You see, Jesus is far more than the sentimental musings of a Christmas card. He doesn’t just bring forgiveness, but also peace, joy, belonging, and yes, hope! And hope is one thing we all need. Especially now. So, if you’re looking for hope this Christmas, why not come and celebrate the birth of Jesus with us? Rock Springs Church gathers every Sunday morning at 9 a.m. in the Hermosa Ballroom.