I love those stories of where someone made some kind of blunder, or error, or failed attempt, and yet something amazing came out of it, something unexpected, and many times even more profound. Like the story of the invention of the Popsicle. Little Frank Epperson was mixing a drink of soda water powder and water in 1905 and made the mistake of leaving it outside with the stirring stick left in the cup overnight. That night the temperature dropped to freezing and a frozen drink on a stick was formed. Years later, Frank turned that mistake into a business selling the frozen treats in seven fruit flavors. The Good Humor Company bought the rights and millions of Popsicles are consumed every year, all from a mistake. It is said chocolate chip cookies were an accident because Ruth Wakefield of the Toll House Inn failed to have enough coco powder to make her famous chocolate cookies. So, she cut up small chunks of semisweet chocolate from a large bar, hoping they would melt in the baking, turning the cookie a chocolaty brown. Well, that did not happen, but what did happen was a hit as people loved this new chocolate chip cookie. Since Nestle bought the recipe, over seven billion chocolate chip cookies are purchased each year, all from a mistake.
Mistakes are a reality of life; we fail a test, we make an error in a report for work, we slip up in following through with our promises, we bungle a responsibility and don’t follow through, and we even give into the character fails of dishonesty, cheating, stealing, and arrogance. Is there any hope in these kinds of failings? The answer is a big YES! Really! There is hope even when we fail, even when we make mistakes. This hope is found in the biblical Christmas story of Jesus and the hope He brings to life.
The Bible explains the Christmas story this way…
Matthew 1:18-21 18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19 And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. 20 But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”
Saving us from the mistake-making environment we live in and need to be saved from. Jesus came to break us free. Jesus explained it this way…
Luke 4:18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
This liberty is the freedom from the grip that failure and mistakes put on us, taking us on that downward spiral of depression. It is easy to get locked into the vortex that we are the mistakes we make, we are the failures we face. Yet Jesus wants to set us free.
Isaiah the prophet put it this way…
Isaiah 9:6-7 6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder, and His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of His government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over His kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.
Jesus can be that Wonderful Counselor of comfort as we turn to Him, that Mighty God of security as we rely on Him, that Everlasting Father of belonging as we join His forever family, and that Prince of Peace of tranquility as we embrace what He has done for us.
This is the Christmas story, of God sending His Son to be for us the grace, mercy, and love needed to give us hope…hope in our mistakes and failures. Amazing grace in that we do not deserve God’s goodness, yet He has just chosen to bless us, just because He wants to. Mercy that is ever present, in that God holds back the eternal consequences of our mistakes and failures. Endless, constant flowing love in that regardless of our many and even willful mistakes, He still loves and desire for you and I to be in close relationship with Him. Wow, how amazing is that? No wonder so many people get so excited about Christmas! Maybe it can be that for you as well.
One of the great places to learn about the Christ of Christmas is at church. If you are not already connected to a church, please feel invited to ours. Our website has information about our various campuses. We would love to connect with you, especially during this Christmas season. Just check out our website, www.cypresschurch.net .
Seeking to find that hope in my many mistakes along with you,