The Hope of Advent


24 Days of “Christmas Surprises!”

As you can probably tell by my last few thankfulness posts, I’m pretty excited for Christmas. For myself, yes, but mostly for Jared. I can’t wait to share with him everything I love about the season, from the music, to the lights, the joy of giving, and most especially the hope and expectation of Jesus Christ, the reason for the season.

That is the purpose of advent, after all: a symbolic time of remembering the expectation and hope the preceded the birth of Jesus, just as we anticipate Christmas Day excitedly. His birth was prophesied and awaited for SO LONG! That made his arrival all the more joyous! We have so many things planned during advent to help teach this to our son and to foster joy in him in the process, including the daily Christmas books pictured above, because the period leading up to Christmas is almost as important as the day itself. We want him to start to understand not only the true meaning of Christmas, but how it fits into the bigger picture.

The Sunday school lesson I taught this past Sunday – the first Sunday of Advent – highlighted hope, as is traditional. I spoke of the hope before Christmas, which symbolized the hope the Jews had for their Messiah to come, and the reason a Saviour was so important and needed. However, the lesson didn’t stop there. It’s good to remember this hope and expectation of the past, and essential to understand Jesus’ birth as key in the plan of salvation, but we also continue to await Jesus today, eagerly expecting that day when He returns a second time, as He has promised! And that is a source of great joy that continues to this day. Yes, indeed… HE IS COMING AGAIN!

So whether you are as excited about Christmas as I am, or you tend to not care or even feel pain at this time of year, I pray that throughout Advent you will remember and hold onto this hope. The hope – the promise! – that one day, Jesus will be back, and all pain and sorrow will be ended forever. And that will be even better than the best of Christmases. : )


Our Hope is in the Lord

I feel like I have been neglecting you lovely readers, despite my daily thankfulness posts. But I’m back! This will be short, but, I hope, sweet.

I was just listening to the passages from my “daily” Bible reading plan (it’s supposed to get me through the Bible in a year, but it’s already been around 2 years I think…), and the portion from the New Testament was 2 Corinthians Chapter 1. It was SO full of great wisdom and encouragement that I just had to share! So first of all I would really encourage you to go read the whole chapter, because there are so many good nuggets of truth in there! But the passage that struck me the most was the following:

“We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and He will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that He will continue to deliver us.” (2 Corinthians 1:8-10)

Wow. This is SO TRUE it’s not even funny. Have you ever felt the way Paul and his companions did at the beginning? I know I have. Even if I haven’t feared for my physical life, there are times when my emotional and/or spiritual life forces have been beaten down and drained away so much so that I’ve felt near death in my soul. And it was DEFINITELY beyond my ability to endure. Yet I did. Why? Because of Jesus. Without fail, in times like those, when I have turned to Him in desperation, He has rescued me. He gives me the strength I don’t have, in more ways than one. And then I remember that with Him, ANYTHING is possible! And I know He is faithful and will always be with me.

Looking back, I can see a purpose in those times of teaching me to rely on God instead of myself, just as Paul learned. It may be a difficult, even grueling, lesson (and one that I need to learn over again sometimes), but it is worth it in the end. Because I know that is the way the Lord always wants me to live, in complete reliance on Him, so then He can do so many amazing things in and through my life! I have set my hope in the Lord, and I know without a doubt that it is well-placed.