I cannot say I love the cold, dark winters we get here in the Twin Cities. I was raised in the Minneapolis area so I should be used to it by now. It just gets to me sometimes. Do you know what I’m saying? I find myself complaining when the temps really dip down low. How about you? I know many Minnesotans love the winter weather. There are so many things to do in the snow and the ice. There is a nostalgia about cold, hard winters. The air is fresh and clean. The contrast of the white ground and the blue skies is so beautiful. Still, the bleakness can be too much to take for extended periods of time.

The term ‘bleak’ means to be bare or desolate. As it relates to weather, bleak is a description of cold, dark and barren. It’s the feeling you have when hope seems lost or the sense that things will never change for the better. When is the last time you had a feeling of dread or hopelessness? Of course, we experience moments, even seasons, of bleakness. Maybe you are going through something like this right now.

Bleak could describe the situation of the world and more specifically what was going on nationally and politically for Israel in the days before Christ’s birth in Bethlehem. Humanity could not answer the need or longing for peace on earth or hope in death. No effort could answer our greatest need. Sin’s course and the enemy’s schemes won the day. Then love, hope, and peace appeared in a lowly stable out in the hills outside of Jerusalem.

Before the prophecy came to Zechariah or the angels appeared to Mary and Joseph and the shepherds, all seemed bleak. Yes, the prophets cryptically foretold of a Savior who would come in exactly the way He did. But it had been hundreds of years since these proclamations had been announced. In the mean time, governing authorities ruled over God’s Chosen people. They persecuted and silenced the priests and prophets who were looking to keep hope alive.

Let me ask you, How do you handle things in your life when all seems bleak? Do you ever find yourself wondering if things will ever get better? If the tables will turn? If there is true hope for our future? If we look to our circumstances for the answers, I am afraid we will most certainly be let down.

It’s in Hebrews 6:19 that we are encouraged to, “Have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.” It’s a reference to what was needed for sacrifice in the Temple, and further, a final offering to God for the sins of the world once and for all. The anchor of our soul and the hope of salvation would be found in Christ who bridged the gap between God and mankind, offering us an eternal home that is steadfast and immovable.

When things seem bleak and we are sure of very little, remember that our hope is found in Christ, the King who was born for us over 2000 years ago in Bethlehem. Thanks be to God for coming for us, that He would lay down His life on our behalf. He is the King who conquered death and the grave, and this is the story of Christmas.

This Christmas Eve we celebrate the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords, the story of Christmas, on a very special weekend were we will gather to worship Saturday, Christmas Eve at 4:00pm and again Sunday, Christmas Day at 10:00 am. Each service will be unique in itself. We hope you will join us!

Merry Christmas!