1 Long ago God spoke to the fathers by the prophets at different times and in different ways. 2 In these last days, he has spoken to us by his Son. God has appointed him heir of all things and made the universe through him. 3 The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact expression of his nature, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high. 4 So he became superior to the angels, just as the name he inherited is more excellent than theirs. — Hebrews 1:1-4
by David Hannah
Lockeland Springs Campus
My dad loved Christmas. He legitimately loved everything about the holiday season—so much so, that in our house we would begin to hear Frank Sinatra’s Christmas album sometime in September. I grew up looking forward to the leaves changing and the cool evening air and the smells of sweet potato casserole and roasted pumpkin seeds, because I knew tinsel and lights and carols and Christmas movies were right around the corner. There was a constant slow boil of excitement and anticipation and joy that would last for weeks on end.
Last week was Thanksgiving. I am now in a season in my life where there was a little dread as I began preparations for our various Thanksgiving meals, because I knew it marked the beginning of a constant building of pressures and financial strains and busyness that would last for weeks on end before inevitably boiling over at some point.
When did I change? Or was it the world around me that changed?
As we enter the depths of the holiday season, many of us are asking ourselves that same question. When did it all change? We sing about “Joy to the World,” but then we spend our evenings trying to reconcile our calendars and our credit card bills. Often the dichotomy between what is and what we feel should be simply adds to the stress of the season, as it highlights what we fear we have lost. And then, on top of it all, we have to listen to a preacher every Sunday morning telling us to slow down....as if there was a simple switch we can flip. It’s enough to suck whatever joy is left right out of what is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year.
The New Testament book of Hebrews was written to an audience not unlike many Christ-followers of today. The recipients of Hebrews faced great (and often violent) persecution, and many were teetering on the edge of abandoning their faith because the pressures of life around them were building to the point of boiling over.
It is into that context that the author lobs a grenade to blow apart the walls that seemed to be closing in, beginning with these words: “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact expression of his nature, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.”
So often the holiday season simply serves to remind us of the instability of our lives, forcing us to acknowledge the carousel that is spinning so fast it threatens to fly off its moorings. It is into this reality that God sent His Son Jesus. In Him, we may know forgiveness, redemption, salvation. Jesus, the Son, is the radiance of God’s glory, and all things are sustained by Him. That isn’t only a promise for eternity—it’s a promise that begins today and infiltrates each moment from the present one to the end of time.
- Over the next few weeks, allow God to remind you constantly not only of the great joy of eternal salvation, but also of the present confidence, purpose, and stability we have in the person of Jesus Christ. Joy to the world, the Lord is come! Let earth receive her King.
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible® and CSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.