“May the God of Hope fill you with all joy and peace, as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13
Christmas is coming! There are loved ones to see, gifts to give, baking to share. We prepare our homes for the celebration. Yet even more important than this outward preparation is the preparation of our heart. The Advent season is a beautiful reminder to prepare our hearts, as we prepare our homes, to celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus! Today we light the first of the four candles in the Advent wreath, the candle of Hope.
Is your heart filled with hope? Do you have a confident expectation of your tomorrow? What happens when the road ahead is filled with loss and stress weighs your shoulders down? When confident expectation in life’s tomorrow dwindles, what can you do? How can you walk in hope when you feel hopeless inside?
In one word the answer to confident expectation is “JESUS”…the Jesus of Christmas.
Hope in Jesus comes from more than just a belief that He was once a baby in a manger. This hope in Him has been called “an anchor for the soul”. It is something deep within that secures you through the storms of life. Putting your hope in Jesus will give you these four things.
Hope for Help
We are invited to come to Him and confidently ask for help. Hebrews 4:16 tells us, “to come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in our time of need.”
Hope to Overcome
Things that leave one feeling powerless and hopeless come in many forms. With Christ’s strength you can overcome great obstacles, and faith in Jesus gives hope and help to overcome. 1 John 5:4 says, “and this is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith.”
Hope for Power
Sometimes in life we find ourselves with a task that simply looks too big for us. We do not just need a cup of God’s strength added to our own; rather we need His strength in us to do what we need to do. He will give it! 2 Corinthians 12:9 says, “My grace is sufficient for you: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.”
Seeing our weakness as the entry point of God’s strength gives access to His power!
Hope for Eternity
When we put our faith and hope in Jesus, it not only gives us help, strength and power where we walk today but it also gives us hope for life after death. It is a confident expectation of the ultimate “tomorrow”.
The God of Hope sent His son to be our Savior. He is only one prayer away. If you want the confident expectation of His strength and wisdom in your today and His help and hope for your tomorrow, you need only ask. Just tell Him…
Dear God, I have gone my own way and have put my hope in so many things that have disappointed me. Thank you that you sent Jesus, that first Christmas long ago, to be my Savior. I believe He came for me. Forgive me and come into my life today. Show me how to live in the confident expectation of how You can impact my life, my character and my circumstances. I place my hope in You right now and ask You to make Yourself known to me in my life right where I walk. I thank you. I pray this in the name of Jesus, Amen
Questions: How do you feel going into this Christmas season? Excited? Scared? Joyful? Lonely? Worried or delighted? How will you invite God’s hope into your situation?
Did you have a treasure box growing up?
I did. In my treasure box (I actually still have the box) I had a very old dollar coin that my Mom had given to me, some chap stick (I pretended that it was lipstick, since I couldn’t wear any yet), and various other items that you would’ve considered junk but to me were valued possessions.
In Luke 2:19 (NLV) we get the idea that Mary had a treasure box of sorts, only her treasures were memories of Jesus and how his life intersected with hers. Look at what it says,
“. . . But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.”
What were those things she stored in her “treasure box”? Could it have been the time when the Angel came to tell her that she would bear a child even though she was a virgin? Or what about when she visited with Elizabeth who was old, wrinkled and very pregnant? Did she treasure watching God’s miracle growing within her.
Did she hold tightly to the feeling of having the baby move inside of her? Was one of her treasured memories when she laid her precious baby in the manger, as she counted his fingers and toes? Or what about the surprising visit from a group of homeless shepherds or the royal wise men who had traveled so far from a distant country to visit her son and give him precious gifts?
And as Jesus grew older, I wonder if she included in her box the time when they had to go back to Jerusalem to find Jesus. Did she have in her box their surprise at finding him teaching the leaders of that day in the synagogue? And what about the time when He changed the water at the wedding into wine?
I think Mary continued to store up memories of God’s amazing work and power in their lives. And I can’t help but wonder that if in the years to come, this treasure box of memories was a comfort and joy to her as her life began to turn upside down as she watched her Son become hated and hunted by the Jewish community.
I wonder when she was discouraged or confused, if she would “pull them out” and be reminded that God was in control. Did she seek consolation in those memories, that God had a plan and He was working it out, even though she didn’t comprehend it?
Have you ever created a treasure box of answered prayers?
Have you ever taken time to reflect on God’s work in your life?
I hope that you will take time this Christmas season to reflect on God’s goodness to you and I encourage you to continue to mark those times in your life when you have seen Him and ponder often on them, just as Mary did.