It’s strange… I don’t get it, but somewhere along the way, it changed… Christmas as an adult is just not the same! Yes, the joy of Christmas morning with little eyes bulging at the gifts under the tree, and time with family is still wonderful. But right now, there is so much to think about before we get there. And as an adult, the world does not feel all bright, warm, and fuzzy. It’s cold, food is expensive, gas is ridiculous, and the people who just got voted in still aren’t fixing anything… go figure. All I want for Christmas is a leader who understands regular people problems, and who values what is right over a political agenda. Somehow, I think I can relate with the Israelite people in the time of Hosea. Things were bleak, the culture was idolatrous and evil, and the leadership was worse. Enter Hosea, a prophet with a message from God, starting from the top down.
            In Chapters 4-5, God called out the priests and the royal household, the ones responsible for guiding the people in righteousness. The judgement against Israel started with them because they had led the people astray. The royals were distracted by politics and power games, and the priests were abusing their position for personal gain. They did not care about the people of Israel. So, God was going to punish the land, starting with the leaders. God’s people needed to be rescued from sin. They also needed a new king that would uphold God’s laws, and a new high priest, who understood the brokenness of people and who would serve as their intercessor before God. It was a very dark time in Israel’s history, and it would only get darker for several more centuries. But a new day was coming when a baby born in Bethlehem would change everything.
            I wonder if Hosea, a frustrated prophet surrounded by corrupt leaders, could even imagine a truly just king or a righteous high priest. I bet he would never have guessed one person could do both perfectly. Certainly, the Jewish people of his time would have had a hard time with that. Again, I can relate. I can no longer imagine a president that I actually trust getting into office, or politicians that truly value my opinion. And even clergy are getting admittedly harder to place confidence in. All I want for Christmas is… well… Jesus. I am so grateful that, as a disciple of Jesus, I serve a King who loves justice (Micah 6:8), a High Priest who is righteous and yet who understand His people (Heb 4:14-16), and an eternal Lord who came not to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for man (Mark 10:45). What a gift we have in Jesus Christ. He was and is the greatest gift of all time. As adulthood makes the sparkle and shine of Christmas wear off, He is the reason I still have joy, because He is still my High Priest and my King all year round.

by Ben Urban, Pastor of Student Ministries

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