Hope in tough times

We are in tough times.  As economic giants like General Motors appear close to collapse, fear continues to spread, and many wonder if there is any hope.

None of this should be a surprise to those who understand God’s ways.   The Bible shows us that the same thing has happened over and over again throughout history.   When times are good, we tend to get cocky and we think we can do anything.  But God has a way of humbling the proud and self-sufficient, and raising up those who humbly depend on Him.

When the angel Gabriel came to the village of Nazareth to tell a young teen-aged girl named Mary that she would be the mother of the Messiah, she responded with amazing faith and offered her body to be the Lord’s vessel.   Later, reviewing these wondrous events with her cousin Elizabeth, she burst into song and uttered these memorable words about God’s ways :

He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
He has brought down rulers from their thrones
but has lifted up the humble.

Jesus’ birth was announced both to the poor – the shepherds in the fields – and to the wealthy and powerful – the Wise Men from the East.  The thing they had in common was humiliity and faith.  They were willing to place their hope, not in themselves but in God’s promise.

In tough times people often look for a strong leader to rescue them.  But ultimately, no human leader can save us – not Michael Ignatieff, not Stephen Harper, not Barack Obama.  The best leaders are those who humbly recognize their own fallibility and their dependency on God.   Ultimately that’s where our hope lies.

The birth of Jesus is only good news for those who know they need hope from beyond themselves.  As long as we persist in the delusion that we have it made,  Jesus has nothing to offer us.  But if we humble themselves and put our trust in the Saviour’s unfailing love, no matter how tough the times, there is good news of great joy.  Merry Christmas !