We strive for an Emmanuel hope that God is with us. Our lives and the places surrounding us are covered in darkness, filled with grief-laden moments that leave us to believe our broken hearts will never heal. But many years ago, Hope was born and His name is Jesus. Mary Geisen, The Advent Narrative
As a young girl, I often expressed a giddiness over the upcoming Christmas holiday. I placed my hope in the joy that was to come. This anticipation of hope was based on the presents that were coming on Christmas morning and nothing else.
Now as an adult, I see that my misplaced anticipation of hope led me to seek joy in the wrong places. As a child, I would like to say I didn’t know any better.
What does it look like to anticipate the hope that you know comes with the birth of Jesus?
The Birth of Jesus Changes Everything
Growing up I knew that Christmas was about the birth of Jesus, but my heart had not caught up. My parents made time for church and the focus of key church holidays but what I remember is the excitement of Santa and the presents that I was dreaming about.
It has taken many years for my heart to catch up with my head regarding Christmas. I was in my forties when my heart filled with an anticipation of hope that looked very different from what was piled under the Christmas tree.
As hard as it is to admit the truth about me, I can now rest assured that the birth of Jesus changed everything for me. I no longer hold onto childhood dreams of the perfect presents. I no longer dwell on an excitement that has nothing to do with the birth of Jesus. Instead, my adult self embraces a peace that comes with the heart knowledge that Jesus is the Hope that I was always anticipating.
What a gift! The Advent season marks a time of remembering for me as I hope it does for you too. What changed for you as a child, teen, young adult, or adult as you reflect on the birth of Jesus?
If the birth of Jesus changes everything, how is your life better as a result?
If you know Jesus is the Hope you were always waiting for, what do you do to maintain the hope in your life?
Faith is Confidence in What We Hope For
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1
The author of Hebrews outlines what faith looks like throughout Chapter 11. It points us to hope but allows us to ponder the examples of faith that our forefathers modeled.
Without faith, we miss out on the next steps God has written in our stories. Our founding father, Abraham, would not have been written into the story. Without faith, we lose out on a confidence that I know personally has brought me through some difficult times in my life.
If Advent is about the anticipation of hope, then where does your faith enter into this journey? Hebrews declares that faith is confidence in what we hope for and I for one am placing my hope in Jesus who has promised to come again.
God has written a beautiful story of hope for each of us. It began thousands of years ago when He sent His son, Jesus, to enter the world in human form to teach us how to love. Without this piece of the story, we lose out on the key focus that we celebrate this time of year.
The verse below reiterates our need for Jesus and the hope that arrived and became our anchor and security. God knows how much we need hope today and how necessary it was at the time Jesus was born. Our hope has been secured by Jesus and taking time to celebrate the hope of Jesus each year is a gift to remind us who we are.
We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf. Hebrews 6:19-20
What if the Anticipation of Hope Feels too Hard
Maybe you’re in a season of life where darkness is widespread as a result of events at your job, or your family feels like it’s in crisis mode; or perhaps, you feel lonely and can’t wrap your head around what hope even feels like.
Maybe, you don’t want reminders of hope, peace, love, and joy this time of year because of a devastating loss.
God knows and He cares more than you can imagine. Let’s take time this week to look inward at our hearts and call upon God to heal, comfort, guide, protect, or whatever else we need.
Here are some Hope Notes to help you as you spend time in God’s presence.
1. Hope is found in turning to God because you know you can’t do it on your own.
2. Hope dispels the darkness of despair.
3. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. Romans 5:5
4. “Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul and sings the tune without the words and never stops at all.” — Emily Dickinson
5. ”You will be secure, because there is hope; you will look about you and take your rest in safety. “ – Job 11:18-19
6. “Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness,” Desmond Tutu
7. O Morning Star, splendor of light eternal and sun of righteousness: Come and enlighten those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death. – prayer based on the biblical prophecies of Jesus.
8. Choosing to hope can be costly. Hope anyway. Kaitlyn Bouchillon
Journeying through Advent with peace and hope!
Click HERE for a wonderful repeat of a story that is sure to bring you hope.