One of the most inspiring stories of hope can be found in the book of Ezekiel. Ezekiel was a prophet who lived in exceedingly difficult times, when God’s people had been defeated by the invading Babylonians and carried off from their homeland to live as exiles in a foreign country. They were far from home and far from the security and peace they had known; they had seen the temple destroyed and so were living in fear and anxiety, just as many people do today.
To make matters worse, this state of affairs was because they had refused to listen to God or obey Him. Sometimes, the difficulties we face are our own fault; on other occasions, we face troubles that are not of our own making. Either way, we can feel dispirited and hopeless. Yet in the midst of all this trouble, Ezekiel has a vision in Ezekiel 37 of a Valley of Dry Bones coming to life again as he speaks God’s word into the situation. The bones come together to form skeletons; God’s Spirit comes into them and the bones become living people again.
“Son of man, these bones are the people of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.’ 12 Therefore prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: My people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel. 13 Then you, my people, will know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves and bring you up from them. 14 I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the Lord have spoken, and I have done it, declares the Lord.’” (Ezekiel 37:12-14)
God spoke a message of hope through Ezekiel to His people, even though they were in exile. Christmas reminds us that God speaks hope into our situations and through Jesus can bring hope to each one of us, no matter where we are or what we are facing.