We read in the Gospel of Luke, “And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.”
Today, there is so much swirling around us that causes fear. But do not let your heart despair, there is good news. Hope, peace, and salvation came to us as a baby: “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.”
Mary and Joseph were weary. The couple trudged the streets of Bethlehem looking for a place to rest. Finding an inn, they knocked on the door and bid the innkeeper, “Sir, we are tired and alone. May we stay here tonight?”
The couple was desperate and alone. But hope was coming. Fear was ushered out and the comfort of a bed was replaced by the smell of fresh cut hay––a barn became a palace for a king. Peace engulfed the small family as they welcomed a son. Their desperation was replaced by hope.
Many of the children who come to Baptist Children’s Homes (BCH) know the feeling of being alone. They know desperation and fear.
The terror of being locked out of her house shook the precious 9-year-old. She did not understand why her mother would not protect her as her mom’s boyfriend pushed her out into the darkness. She felt the crush of hopelessness as the door closed in her face. She was left standing outside alone. But hope was on the way. Safety and peace beyond understanding was coming to this child.
Kelsey leaves the abortion clinic, the door closing behind her. She is afraid and overwhelmed. She chose life for her precious child. For Kelsey and the baby, hope is on the way.
A future and peace beyond understanding awaits. Kelsey chose adoption over abortion. She chose life and hope rather than fear.
Five hungry children came into BCH’s care. The parents’ addictions left the family desperate without shelter or food. Trauma cloaked their chaotic life. The siblings were frightened and alone. But hope was on the way for these precious boys and girls.
The physical abuse she had suffered put her into the hospital. She was afraid. Hope had vanished until she received word that she would live with a BCH foster care family. The door from her painful past closed and a new door opened. Hope was on the way!
This Christmas will be different on BCH’s campuses. We typically have lots of celebrations beginning early November. Through the years, our children have been blown away by those who come and shower them with gifts of love. And while BCH friends will not be able to come and visit this year, I know they are more determined than ever to make this Christmas memorable for our children.
Like the angels, you have heralded a message of hope in these trying times. You have said in so many ways: “Do not be afraid.”
So, what will Christmas look like for BCH’s children? The trees and decorations you donated are being put into place. Staff and children are talking about how they can make Christmas brighter for someone else by sharing acts of kindness. Even though you cannot be here in person, you are delivering Christmas gifts and food to every location. Your generosity is helping fill cottages with brightly wrapped presents, smells of holiday cooking, and lots of laughter and cheer.
But even more significant, you are helping to fill hearts with love, joy, hope, peace, and the message of grace and salvation that came to us as a baby.
One of my favorite Christmas songs proclaims “the hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.” What do you hope for this Christmas? My faith tells me that we can bring our hopes and fears to the one sent by God––Jesus. The Christ child gives us hope and He has the power to cancel fear and darkness.
Paul wrote to the Romans: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”
Let hope be the baby’s gift to you!
Worthwhile Investments is written by Brenda B. Gray, BCH Executive Vice President of Development and Communications