Christmas 2022. Jesus makes the difference

The annual open-air Carols by Candlelight service had been disrupted by a thunderstorm. Everyone moved into the Church. The service required the participation of a number of folks to take the scripture readings.

The minister welcomed everyone and opened in prayer. At the end of the prayer, he quietly moved into the background, without introducing the first reader, who silently came forward to take the reading.

A little boy in the front row of the congregation opened his eyes and in shocked dismay turned to his mother and said, Mummy, where’s God gone?”

When we think of how highly commercialized Christmas has become, one might well ask, “Where has God gone?”

Carol Service – Photo by Blue Ox Studio:

Matthew 1:18-25


Because of God’s amazing love for our fallen world He sent His Son Jesus Christ, to invade our world. His coming made a significant difference to the lives of many at the time.

  • To a young engaged couple – Joseph and Mary.

The news of Mary’s miraculous pregnancy threw Joseph’s life into turmoil. Our loving God put Joseph’s mind at rest about marrying Mary, by sending an angel to explain Mary’s pregnancy.

Mary probably dreamed of a happy married life, with Joseph, her carpenter husband, in a comfortable furnished home. Her unexpected pregnancy certainly changed things.

Emperor Augustus’ census forced Joseph and his young wife to make the long tiring journey to Bethlehem at the height of her pregnancy, where there was no accommodation available at the local inn.

The pregnancy, birth and infancy of Jesus certainly made a difference in the lives of his earthly parents.


  • There were the Shepherds

Out in the fields the  shepherds received a glorious heavenly visitor with the news that a Saviour had been born.

Later in Bethlehem they found the couple with their special child. “As the shepherds returned to their sheep, they were praising God and saying wonderful things about Him. “ (Luke 2:20 CEV)

For some time into the future their lives would have been different as they excitedly told their story.

  • Also the Magi

They spotted a new star, which for them indicated the birth of the king of the Jews. They put everything on hold. Packed their bags and headed for Jerusalem to worship this newborn king. A journey from the east which would have taken them almost two years.

For the Magi the birth of Christ made a huge difference. It called for a sacrifice of both time and treasure.

He also made a difference for: Simeon,  and Anna as we saw in Advent 1.

Christ’s coming definitely made a vast difference in the lives of all of the folk involved in Christ’s birth and infancy.


 Throughout His three year ministry Jesus continued to make a difference in the lives of those He came into contact with. Sick were healed, dead were restored to life, and many demon possessed were set free.

The fishermen, Peter, James and John and others, became “Fishers of men”.

Tax Collector, Matthew was transformed from the writer of tax records to the recorder of Jesus’ teachings and miracles.

Another Tax Collector, Zacchaeus promised to give half of his possessions to the poor and return fourfold any money that he had extracted dishonestly.

A prostitute, Mary Magdalene turned from her sinful lifestyle and became a faithful follower of Jesus.

Christ’s coming made a difference in the lives of many who met Him during His earthly ministry.


Down the years Jesus has made a difference in the lives of  many others.

A diving accident in 1967 left Joni Erickson Tada a quadriplegic in a wheelchair. Through faith in Jesus she has overcome her handicap.

Niki Cruz, a former gang leader opened his life to Jesus and now has a successful ministry to gangland youth.

Charles Colson jailed for Watergate-related charges. Became a committed Christian, a leader in the Christian right movement, and author of at least 20 books.

As they have opened their lives to Jesus as Saviour and Lord, Christ has continued to make a difference down the centuries  


How about you?

  • Is He someone you acknowledge or greet only once in a while?

  • Is He someone you perhaps only call out to in times of trouble and crisis?

  • Are you a truly different PERSON because of Him?

God has not gone, as the little boy thought, God has come! He came into our world in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ – Emmanuel – God with us! He continues to ring the changes in the lives of those who put their trust in Him.

As we move on from Christmas, make sure that the celebration of  Jesus’s birth has made a difference in your life. In the year that lies ahead don’t  live  your life as if He had never come.

Advent 1. Hope for the world

This past Sunday was the first Sunday of Advent.

The candle that is lit on the first Sunday of Advent, is usually purple and represents ‘Hope’.

 Isaiah 52:1-10;  Luke 2:21-38

Image by 41330 from Pixabay

  • With 2022 drawing to a close what do you hope for most in 2023?


The prophet Isaiah ministered in Judah. He presents a very clear picture of the sins of the kingdom of Judah—idolatry, hypocrisy, materialism, and the oppression of the poor. Sound familiar?

But his message was not entirely negative; the prophet also promised God’s people redemption, offering them hope for a glorious future, particularly when their Messiah arrived.

With these promises in mind as well as other prophecies, the people held onto the hope of their fulfillment during their lifetime. Sadly, however, because of their sins they succumbed to enemy forces and were taken into captivity.

Even then, through the prophets the Lord promised that a remnant would return to the Promised Land. This return took place during the time of Ezra and Nehemiah.


What do you do when you have prayed for a situation or a person for a long time and yet the Lord seems to ignore your request?

Do you lose hope?

Do you give up and stop praying?

The years passed.  Israel’s hope for the promised Messiah who would bring redemption and salvation faded into the background. By the time the Romans took control of the Promised Land, all hope for a coming Messiah had faded.

Yet certain individuals were still hoping for the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy.

A part of the story that is not so well known is the part that we read about in Luke 2:21-38.


According to Jewish tradition when a baby boy was eight days old, he had to be circumcised. After a period of purification for Mary, Joseph and Mary took Jesus, as their firstborn son, to Jerusalem to the temple to be dedicated to the Lord. (Luke 2:23)

Amazing, even though Jesus was God in the flesh his parents obeyed God’s law and had Him dedicated to God.

In the temple, Joseph and Mary met Simeon who had not lost hope.

Luke recorded, “At this time a man named Simeon was living in Jerusalem. Simeon was a good man. He loved God and was waiting for God to save the people of Israel. God’s Spirit came to him.” (Verses 25b ,26 CEV)

He took the baby Jesus in his arms and announced “Lord, I am your servant, and now I can die in peace, because you have kept your promise to me. With my own eyes I have seen what you have done to save your people, and foreign nations will also see this.” (Verses 29-32)

Do you sense his incredible joy, at his hope being fulfilled?


But the story continues. Next, they were approached by Anna, an 84-year-old prophetess, who, since her husband’s passing in her youth, had spent day and night in the temple fasting and praying hoping to see the promised Messiah.

When she saw Mary and Joseph and the Christ child she too knew her hope had been fulfilled.

Simeon and Anna’s hopes were satisfied because their hopes were based on God’s promise through the prophets.

What are you hoping for?

If what you are hoping and praying for is biblically based, God is committed to providing an answer.

It may not be the answer you hope for, but it will be the best answer because it is God's answer. Share on X


The coming of Christ and the formation of the Christian Church has introduced many wonderful benefits to mankind, yet as we know, this world is still a shockingly evil place. Each day’s news informs us of just what a selfish, wicked, corrupt, and violent society we live in. And it’s not only in our own lands.

So then where is the promised redemption and salvation?

As was the case with many Old Testament prophecies, Isaiah’s promise looked to a double fulfillment.

  • The first fulfillment was the coming of Israel’s Messiah, as the babe of Bethlehem – the Christ of Calvary.

He came not only for the redemption and salvation of a particular nation, but to offer redemption and salvation for all those who put their trust in Him.

At the same time, Jesus made it abundantly clear that following Him would be no picnic , It would not guarantee us freedom from hardship, suffering, and pain.


  • The second fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy will take place in the future at the return of Jesus, the hope of the world.

As Paul wrote; “you surely know that the Lord’s return will be as a thief coming at night…So we must stay sober and let our faith and love be like a suit of armor. Our firm hope that we will be saved is our helmet.  God doesn’t intend to punish us, but wants us to be saved by our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thessalonians 5:2-4, 8, 9.)

The Greek word used for ‘hope’ is more than just “wishful thinking”. It means ‘confident expectation’.

Our Christian confident expectation is that:

  • We were saved the moment we opened our lives to Jesus.

  • Throughout our earthly life we will continue the process of being saved.

  • Ultimately when we either go to be with Jesus through death, or Jesus makes His second appearance on earth to fetch us, our salvation will be complete.

Jesus Christ “hope of the world” has come. Praise God this same Jesus who was born as the babe of Bethlehem over 2000 years ago will one day return as our Redeemer, the focus of our hope.

  • Is your life focused on Jesus Christ the hope of the world?

Please close this session by joining me in this prayer. 

God of hope fill me with all joy and peace as I trust in You, so that I may overflow with a message of hope towards others through the power of the Holy Spirit.