The Hope of Christmas

If we lived in Judea during the time of Jesus’ birth, we’d have felt little hope. Syrian successors to Alexander had imposed Greek culture on our Jewish people, including holding games with naked athletes in Jerusalem. Antiocus IV in 168 B.C. slaughtered a pig on a pagan altar in our sacred temple. Although the Maccabean brothers led a successful guerilla rebellion (166 to 143 B.C.), after a brief period of freedom, the Roman general Titus marched into our capital Jerusalem in 63 B.C.

As Jews, we’d have been ruled until recently by Herod I, a ruthless tyrant. His title, “King of the Jews,” belied his part-Idumean heritage and fooled nobody. Because he knew when he died he would lack mourners, he instructed his lieutenants, upon his death, to execute many leading Jewish citizens.  In 4 B.C., around the time of Jesus’s birth, all Jerusalem mourned.

If we lived when Jesus was born, we’d also have to wait nearly 30 years until he heals the sick, cleanses lepers, restores the lame, and raises the dead. So where is the hope of Christmas? In Jesus, God enters history to meet our deepest need. But have you noticed how, to develop his plans, God takes his time?



About Grose

Gordon Grose loves most to write, speak, and preach on the message of hope from the book of Job. Using drama, video, and PowerPoint, he has preached and presented this message of hope to churches around the country. Grose pastored three congregations 25 years, then served 12 years as a pastoral counselor in a Portland, Oregon counseling clinic. He now serves with Good Samaritan Counseling Services, Beaverton, OR. A graduate of Wheaton College (IL), Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, Brandeis University, and Boston University, he comes from a rich and varied background in theological and counseling training. In 2015, Gordon published Tragedy Transformed: How Job's Recovery Can Provide Hope For Yours, a book about turning to Job for hope after tragedy. If you have experienced life challenges or personal tragedy, visit his Transforming Tragedy ( blog to learn more. provides a sample of Gordon's speaking as well as an opportunity to purchase copies of his book.
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