This advent season leading up to Christmas, celebrate the hope that is bigger than ourselves, that offers us a brighter future, and is anchored in Christ alone.
This is my favorite time of the year. My heart comes alive singing Christmas carols, sipping coffee in front of a glimmering Christmas tree, baking cookies for friends, and scouring stores for the perfect gifts for loved ones.
Those are all wonderful ways of celebrating, but they are not the reason I celebrate.
In this time leading up to Christmas, we are in a season of advent, which means “coming.” It is 4 weeks of preparation and anticipation, building up to celebrating the most wonderful gift our world has ever received – Jesus. Our Savior, wonderful counselor, almighty God, King of kings, and Lord of lords!
In this first week of advent, I am celebrating the hope He has brought into the world.
Something Bigger Than Ourselves
I like to think that I have a pretty good grasp on my life. I’m an introvert and I spend a lot of time taking in the world around me – the environments, the relationships, the words, the actions. I like to process and make sense of things the best I can. It makes me feel like there is an order and a predictability to life that gives me a sense of security.
Then there are those times when things don’t make sense at all. When people get cancer, when they lose their lives far too young, when mental illness ravages through families, when relationships break and shatter hearts and lives. There is no way for me to make sense of those things.
But there is still hope.
There is so much more to life beyond what I can see. My finite view of the world is nothing compared to God’s omniscience, His mighty power. He doesn’t work within the limitations of my own logic and reasoning because He is bigger, He is stronger, and He is better than anything I could possibly imagine! He makes impossible things possible, shines light in the darkness, and brings good out of even the most difficult and heart-wrenching situations.
There is hope that God sent us in the form of an innocent baby, born in a manger. A baby that would save the entire world. It was not just a glimmer of hope, but a thrill of hope that brings this weary world to rejoice!
A Brighter Future
This life, our current circumstances…it’s not the end. It would be so easy to fall into a rut of discouragement and despair over everything going on in the world as a whole and inside of our homes. The recent election sent a wave of shock, fear, and disillusionment through the nation. In spending 10 minutes on Facebook this morning, I read about a woman crying herself to sleep over the deep and throbbing heartache in her relationship, another struggling with debilitating depression, and yet another consumed by worry for her children in a tough situation.
For the unclean, the unholy
For the broken, the unworthy
You came, Jesus, you came
– Let Us Adore by Elevation Worship
Our king has come, and with Him, He brings a hope that transcends the pain of our past and our present, promising us a brighter future yet to come. It is not a wavering hope in things that might come to be. It is an absolute certainty that, even when we can’t see it, He is working for our good in all things. It is a hope that anchors our wandering souls to an eternity with a good, loving, caring Savior who loves us unfailingly, in ways more powerfully than we can understand.
That is a future I can hang on to with both hands and a heart full of hope.
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
It is really easy to put our hope in tangible things we feel like we can count on – our careers, our financial plans, our marriages, our own strength, our kids, our accomplishments. The problem is that jobs end without notice, stock markets crash, and relationships end. We are not invincible. We are human, we make mistakes and we feel the consequences of others’ mistakes, too. We are not strong enough to carry the weight of the world on our shoulders, no matter how hard we try, no matter how much we do.
For unto us a child is born!
Hope is more than just wishful thinking, it is blessed assurance that every detail of our lives is safely cradled in the hands of a loving and able Savior. He is worthy of our trust, an utter trust that is an “enlivening fall of surrender into safe hands” (Ann Voskamp).
Hope relentlessly in the One who will never fail, will never give up, and will never leave you to walk alone.
As you walk through this Christmas season, I pray you are able to fully accept the precious gift of hope that He is holding out just for you.