By CLINT DECKER

"Jobless, Inflation, Poverty, Recession," then "Sirens wail in Tel Aviv, Gaza rockets hit suburbs." This is what I read at the top of my screen when I went to an Internet news website. I thought to myself, "What is happening?" The headlines communicated the larger story of the dark and perilous times America and the world is facing. Our world needs hope.

Centuries ago, on the eve of history's first Christmas, the world was also in perilous times. Rome was the world's superpower. They were a dictatorship whose government was immoral and cruel. For more than 300 years, the Jewish people lay under the foot of Roman rule. Day after day they longed to be free from this heartless empire. They needed hope. On the original Christmas Day, the dawn of a new era finally had come. Hope arrived.

A young Jewish couple, Joseph and Mary, gave birth to their newborn son, Jesus. It was foretold this child would become the hope of the world. As the years passed and the boy became a man, he lived out his destiny. At age 30, he began a public speaking ministry drawing crowds in the thousands. He coupled that with supernatural works of miraculous healings, displayed power over demons and even tamed the fury of nature. Jesus said of himself, "I am the light of the world" (John 8:12). Indeed, His powerful light sliced through the curtain of darkness covering the world's stage bringing hope to many.

However, the public eventually turned against Jesus. Why? His light brought hope, but it also exposed things. It exposed liars, cheats and the immoral lives of all rank and file in society. He lovingly called them to turn from their darkness and follow him. Instead, they said "Enough!" Jesus once said, "The light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness because their deeds were evil" (John 3:10). And that is what happened. Soon, the hands of the crowds were dripping with Jesus' blood when they murdered him. For three days, he lay dead. Then, on the third day, they discovered they could not keep hope in the grave.

Jesus overcame the darkness once and for all being raised from the dead. He was and still is the unquenchable light of the world. This Christmas, let us call upon Jesus and let him save us from the darkness bringing the light of hope within us. May Jesus be your hope this Christmas.

Clint Decker is president and evangelist with Great Awakenings Inc. Since 1991, he has reached more than 2 million people with his message of hope. Contact him at cdecker@greatawakenings.org or (785) 632-5063.