HOPE is the first candle we light on our Advent Wreath. The word hope brings a fond Christmas memory of our children. They loved the Sears Christmas Catalog. With identifying markers, they delighted in circling the gifts they hoped they would receive. Hope is a word we frequently use with the coming of Christmas. This season many of us will not be able to experience what we hoped for.
This season many of us will not be able to experience what we hoped for.
Hope is one of the words we use loosely, I hope it won’t rain, my car won’t run out of gas…, but hope goes deeper. Eighteenth Century Essayist Alexander Pope wrote, “Hope springs eternal”. In the Bible it means a deep abiding trust that God has a plan.
For a wonderful experience of hope, how God’s gift of hope unfolded in the lives of individuals, take the time this Christmas to carefully read of Zechariah, Elizabeth, Mary, Simeon and Anna in Luke 1 and 2; Joseph’s hope is recorded in Matthew 1. All had hope God would work it out, and God did, even more than they hoped for. For each one the birth of the Messiah gave them the gift of hope.
The Messiah still gives us the gift of hope. When received, it lifts our soul and propels us onward. Even in time of affliction, pain or broken dreams faith in Christ offers the gift of hope. What area in your life now needs hope? The Christ Child came to keep our hope alive. Like any Christmas gift we must open and receive our gift. Christ is the light to guide the way.
Hope is a deep abiding trust that God has a plan. Christ guides the way.
Here are some suggestions for renewing real hope in your life this Christmas.
- Read of hope in the scriptures suggested above. Additional specific verses will encourage hope in your heart: Ps. 71:14; Jer. 29;11 ; Rom 12:12; Rom 15:13; Heb 11:1: 1 Peter 1:3; Col. 1:27*
- Sing of HOPE
Phillip Brooks remembered a mystical night in Bethlehem, at a spot at the location of Jesus birth. Three years later in 1868, he wrote the carol, “O, Little Town of Bethlehem”, for the children of his congregation to sing on Christmas Eve. Sing the first verse:
O little town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie!
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep the silent stars go by.
Yet in the dark streets shineth the everlasting Light.
The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.
I suggest personalizing the last line as a prayer chant to sing this week, whenever you need hope: “ The hopes and fears of all the years are met in YOU today.”
- Pray this as a Breath Prayer* : Breath in slowly and repeat: Christ in me. Exhale slowly.
Conclude with: The hope of God’s glory to come.
- Faith Step
Find ways to convey hope to someone who comes to your mind. Consider a card, phone call, text, or a gift left on the doorstep. Pray for them and tell them you are. Whatever God brings to your mind, share God’s hope with them.
In the book Just Imagine, chapter 10 challenges us to share faith, because the world needs good news. We tend to shy away from doing this. However, let’s consider that Faith Sharing is really all about relationship–our relationship with God and others. Sharing relationship is not intimidating. During this unusual time, let’s deepen our relationship with the Messiah born for us. And ask him how you might find simple ways of sharing that with someone who needs hope.
Just Imagining what can happen if we do,