Arise, shine, for your light has come,

and the glory of the Lord shines over you.

For look, darkness covers the earth,

and total darkness the peoples;

but the Lord will shine over you,

and His glory will appear over you.

Nations will come to your light,

and kings to the brightness of your radiance. Isaiah 60:1-3, CSB

Today is Christmas Eve and the fourth Sunday of Advent. The season does not always end like this, but I find it fitting since we are discussing pursuing hope all day of our lives. 

Today marks the end of the journey for Mary and Joseph. They traveled far to the city of Bethlehem for the census. Mary was heavy with child and ready to deliver at any moment. I imagine a soft place to rest was on her mind and Joseph was doing everything he could to make that happen. 

I am not sure if either Mary or Joseph knew how the gift they were carrying would impact the world. They were pursuing hope all the days of their lives just as we are. Both walked in obedience to do the work of God. They faced many challenges and the path was not always clear. But just as we face opposition and question our journey in life, we are in good company when we walk in obedience.

Pursuing Hope Requires Obedience

Obedience looks like surrender and the faith to trust that God knows the way when you let go. It is only easy to the extent that letting go is easy. 

Mary walked in easy obedience into all that God had for her future. On the outside, it looked easy but I wonder if doubts clouded her vision initially when the angel Gabriel visited her with the news of becoming the mother of Jesus. We know Joseph was ready to tell Mary that he was going to break their engagement. Only God could write a story where the outcome depended on the willingness of a teenage girl and boy.  

How did a teenage girl surrender herself to the unknown? Was her faith that great?

These are questions I ask when reading the story in Luke. 

If pursuing hope all the days of our lives requires obedience, then based on Mary’s story it also requires faith.

Faith in the good and challenging times in your lives. Faith to accept the unknown. And faith, to say “yes” when all you want to do is shout “no”.

I want to have a Mary-like faith. I want to say “yes” to God even when I am not certain of the outcome.

This week we have an opportunity to bow low in humility and gratitude. Our hearts crave more of Jesus. He craves more time with us.

Let’s release what is weighing us down and embrace the love that came down by celebrating the birth of our newborn King.

Let’s Celebrate the Gift of Hope

This week we celebrate the Light of the World coming to Earth. Our hearts skip a beat as we joyfully sing, “Glory to God in the Highest and on earth peace to those whom his favor rests.” Luke 2:14 

Advent hope, peace, love, and joy came down to earth as a gift for all. Each one brings its light and together they dispel the darkness so we can see the way. 

We can rejoice because the Light is here and has overcome the darkness. The love of Jesus renews our weary souls and Hope is at hand. 

Throughout this week, let’s grasp how pursuing hope all our days will make a difference as we enter a new year. 

Pause and Reflect

The light we long for during Advent is already in us because God abides in us. Tsh Oxenreider, Shadow and Light

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

How will you continue to pursue hope into the new year?

How do the words from Romans 15:13 reassure you that you will be okay?

Christmas blessings from me to you! May the light of Jesus guide you in the New Year!

Photo by Chad Madden on Unsplash




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