Our Hopes Are Met in Jesus
By Richard J. Mouw, President
“Tidings of great joy for all peoples.” The angels’ declaration to the shepherds captures the heart of what Christmas is about. The Bethlehem baby’s birth brought joy to a hurting and wounded world. That is not to say that the birth of Jesus spread a lot of happiness around. Joy is different than happiness. It is a deep calmness—a profound, unshakeable hope that ultimately things will be well for us, and for the whole world.
There are many people in the world for whom this holiday season will be a time of much unhappiness. And that includes Christian people. Many of our brothers and sisters in Christ experience persecution because of their faithfulness to the gospel. Many live in impoverished communities. Even those who live “privileged” lives are weighted down in this season by economic worries, broken relationships, and physical ills. Not a lot of happiness.
But it is a season of joy. God has sent a Savior. And when that baby—fully God but also fully human—stretched forth his tiny arms in the manger in Bethlehem, he began a redemptive mission that guarantees that sin and death are not the final word. The angels’ message tells us of the final word: “Do not be afraid. I bring you tidings of great joy.”
The Savior born in Bethlehem “comes to make his blessings flow, far as the curse is found.” There is a lot of cursedness in the world right now. But the blessings of Christ’s first advent are also flowing. We experience those blessings in abundance at Fuller Seminary, as we “equip men and women for the manifold ministries of Christ and his Church.” We pursue that mission in hope—a confident joy, because of the coming of the Savior.