Advent Musings Series: Let’s unpack HOPE, LOVE, JOY, and PEACE this 2020 Christmas! Come and ponder with me these unchanging truths in a chaotic world. If you have young children, I think you will enjoy the activity provided at the end of each advent musing—a way to celebrate with them God’s timeless promises. Advent defined: The arrival of a notable person, thing, or event; appearance, emergence, dawn, birth; the coming or second coming of Christ. As we remember His first coming with awe, let’s hold hands together figuratively as we yearn for that time when He comes again and makes all things right.
With hope, love, joy, and peace, Sharon
And hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. —Romans 5:5 NASB (emphasis mine)
Hope is a tricky word. It can sound pretty noncommittal. We hope for lots of things, like sunny days for a picnic or good news from an MRI. We hope difficult family members will be nice at Christmas. We hope the coronavirus will finally (please) disappear. Used this way, hope is rather a weak concept. Something might happen, and we sure hope it will, but… actually … we won’t get our hopes up about hoping. It’s way too easy to be let down. Hoping, at least the way our culture understands the word, is pretty much hit or miss.
How is biblical hope different? The hope we learn about in the Bible is linked very closely with the word faith. It has a sureness about it that secular hope does not possess. We hope for things that actually, truly will happen. We have a hope that does not disappoint. We are in a whole different league when we hope in God. Good parents, when they make promises, do everything in their power to make sure they keep their word. God, the parent, goes one better, because everything is in His power. If He says it will happen, it will happen.
What are we hoping for this Christmas? Jesus. We look back with awe and wonder at His first coming that fulfilled the hopes of the ages for a Savior of the world. We look forward with hope to the time when He will return, and this sad, sick, off-balance world will be made right again. Jesus came once. He was Hope fulfilled. Just as surely, Jesus will come again. Our hope is sure. An anchor for our souls.* Rejoice! We can dare to hope, certain that we will not be disappointed, and all because of the One in whom our hope rests.
Adore: Lord, I praise You! You are my secure Hope. You will come again and restore this broken planet. You will right all wrongs, dry every tear, and show me Yourself in ways beyond my best and wildest imaginings. I believe that no eye has seen and no ear has heard what You have prepared for those who love you.** I wait this Christmas—and always—with hope. I love You, Lord! Amen.
Ask: Lord, please show me how to keep hoping in dark times. Remind me of Your faithfulness and love. As I prepare to celebrate Your first coming, give me an anchored hope in You and in Your second and certain coming. Help me to encourage those around me to put their hope in You, for You will not disappoint. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Act: Please reveal to me who needs hope today. Show me, Lord, how to give in ways that will point another to You. Help me to restore the hope of someone today with a kindness that reflects Your kindness and love. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Activity for Children: Hide a treat for the children somewhere in your home, something you know they will enjoy ... homemade cookies ... stickers ... a special video. Then, gather the family and light the first candle on your advent wreath that represents Hope. Talk to your little ones—and not-so-little ones—about the sure hope we have in Jesus. Tell them we can hope it will be sunny tomorrow, but that’s up to God; He might know we need rain. But when we hope that He will be with us and one day take us to the most beautiful place ever, we can be sure. Tell them you have hidden a fun treat just for them, and that this is a “certain hope” like the one we have in Jesus. Then ask your children: Do you hope you’ll find it? Yes! On your mark, get set, go! Let them race about searching for the “treasure,” and when they find it, remind them that even though that was a “sure hope,” hoping in God is even more sure. He never lies or disappoints. Then, go and enjoy the treat together.
*Hebrews 6:19 **1 Corinthians 2:9
You are loved,
Sweet Selah Ministries
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