Have you ever considered the disappointment the Israelites must have felt when their hope – and our hope – arrived in the most unlikely of forms? A baby born to a single mother and a humble carpenter!

Luke 2:1-3 gives us insight about the world that Jesus was born into.

The Israelites were living in an occupied nation, under a despotic regime, suffering rampant corruption at the hands of the Romans. The occupation was disheartening and several violent revolutions were attempted, but all were quickly quashed.

The Israelite nation was hoping for a deliverer.

In our broken, fallen world, it strikes me that this is the same kind of hope that we often look for. But, like the Israelites, when we expect hope to arrive like a triumphal procession, fought for and won on a battlefield, we run the risk of missing the bigger picture.

We’ve all heard stories about the people who missed it:

1903: “The horse is here to stay but the automobile is only a novelty – a fad.” — President of the Michigan Savings Bank advising Henry Ford’s lawyer, Horace Rackham, not to invest in the Ford Motor Company.

2007: “There’s no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share.” — Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO.

The Israelites were so limited by their idea of what a Messiah should look like, that they (mostly) missed Jesus and the kind of hope inaugurated by His kingdom. A hope so much bigger than the promise of political deliverance!

In the same way, I wonder if we sometimes miss the truth of the hope that Jesus brings?

If we continue to look for God at work only in the large, dramatic, miraculous moments, we run the risk of missing this truth: that God’s hope is just as powerful in the small and humble moments – a kind word to a neighbour, time spent with a family member, an expression of generosity to the poor and vulnerable in our world. From these seemingly small acts, God’s hope can rise… and His hope transforms lives.

After all, the story that changed the course of our universe began in a lowly cattle shed, in a small town, with a baby