“Hope is hope because of faith, because of a trust that believes something good is on the horizon. Light is on the way.” Shadow and Light by Tsh Oxenreider
In this second week and every week of our lives, we are preparing our hearts for hope. We learn through the birth of Jesus that He is the hope we are waiting for during Advent.
It is a hope that secures us to Jesus, anchors our souls, and instills trust in us that something good is on the way.
Jesus was born on a night lit only by a sacred pattern of stars. Mary and Joseph relied on the light in the sky to guide their way until the true LIGHT was born.
When we open our hearts to the light of Christ like Mary and Joseph, we make room for more of Him to guide us in our lives.
Preparing in the Dark to Receive the Light
Hope arrived in the dark of the night. This illustration of moving from darkness into light with the birth of Jesus is a key concept of Advent. Throughout the four weeks, we journey from uncertainty to certainty, strife to peace, despair to hope, and sorrow to joy. We light the candles on the Advent wreath to dispel the darkness and remind us of the hope, peace, love, and joy coming with Jesus.
The Advent journey is a study of what was and what is to come. It is the beginning of knowing ourselves because we desire to know Jesus better. The darkness wants to lead us astray but the light intervenes.
Even though hope came in darkness, it shined a great light that makes all the difference as Jesus’s followers.
There are days we prepare our hearts for hope in the darkness. Winter days cloud our vision and the light we crave is only available for a few hours each day.
But the birth of Jesus changed our loneliness into community, our wandering into wondering, and the darkness into the light.
This is the hope we are preparing our hearts for during Advent. And this hope leads us through any darkness that enters our lives.
Preparing our Hearts for Hope Makes Room for the Light
Let’s make time this week to pause and enter the silence with God. He is the One we are seeking and He is the One who is difficult to find in the busyness of this season.
In the stillness, we practice yielding to God so He will take us places we have never been before. It is in the releasing of our burdens and in the quiet, that we find hope. In the emptying out of our brokenness, we make room for Jesus, who is the Hope for the world.
We receive the light when we let ourselves sit in the dark. We can claim the words of Isaiah 9:2, NLT “The people who walk in darkness will see a great light. For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine.”
Our days may be marked by darkness as the daylight grows shorter. But Advent teaches us that darkness is not where we remain.
Remember that when we make room for the light, we will experience a time of waiting before we find hope. It takes intentionality on our part to live fully present so we don’t miss out on all that God has for us.
This week as we prepare our hearts for hope, let’s rest in the presence of God. Let’s hold onto the hope that arrived with Jesus and is ours daily to hold onto and share with others.
Refrains, Reflections, Responses
What will you choose this week to guide you as you prepare your hearts for hope?
Call and response from Psalm 130:5-6
Call: I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits,
and in his word I put my hope.
I wait for the Lord
Response: more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning.
Call and response from Isaiah 60:19-20
Call: The sun will no more be your light by day,
Response: for the Lord will be your everlasting light
Call: nor will the brightness of the moon shine on you,
Response: for the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory.
Call: Your sun will never set again,
Response: the Lord will be your everlasting light,
Call: and your moon will wane no more:
Response: the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your days of sorrow will end.
Breath Prayer—Isaiah 12:5-6
Inhale: Sing to the Lord
Exhale: For he has done glorious things
Inhale: Shout aloud and sing for joy,
Exhale: for great is the Holy One of Israel
The beauty worth lauding during Advent is the slow turning from shadow to light as we inch closer to the celebration of the birth of the Christ child the hope of all humankind. Tsh Oxenreider, Shadow and Light
When we make room for God, there is space for grace, love, and peace. Mary Geisen, The Advent Narrative
Journeying through Advent with peace and hope!
Here are a few resources I am using this year. So you don’t think I’m crazy for listing so many I am using bits and pieces of each. (affiliate links are included)
Shadow & Light by Tsh Oxenreider
Waiting Here for Hope by Louie Giglio
The Savior’s Story Created by Well-Watered Women
She Reads Truth Advent Study, He Alone is Worthy
And for the grandkids: The Jesus Storybook Bible Advent Activity Book By Sally Lloyd-Jones
An article from last year about the preparation. Click HERE