As the story progresses, we see that Mary (who will be the mother of Jesus) is related to Elizabeth, and so the reason for this other angelic announcement about a boy called John becomes clearer. (Luke 1) The hopelessness of Israel is about to be changed, starting with just two individuals (John the Baptist and Jesus.)

One of the terrible things about hopelessness is the sense of apathy and lethargy it induces. We shrug our shoulders and say, ‘There’s nothing to be done.’ We give up. The truth is that God has always worked through individuals who refuse to accept the status quo is all there is and who are determined to do all they can to change situations. Jonas Salk reminds us, “Hope lies in dreams, in imagination, and in the courage of those who dare to make dreams into reality.”

God’s people need to be people who dream, who imagine what God can do, who have the courage to do what He says and who understand that ‘those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.’ (Isaiah 40:31) God gives us hope. When we look at Jesus, we realise that no situation is hopeless; He not only died but rose again! Therefore we have hope.