Advent Week-1 (2019): The Candle Of Hope

The Advent season is a beautiful reminder to prepare our hearts as we prepare our homes — to celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus! At the start of this week, we light the first of the four candles in the Advent wreath: the candle of Hope.

Is your heart filled with hope? Do you have a confident expectation of your tomorrow? What happens when the road ahead is filled with loss and stress weighs your shoulders down? When confident expectation for tomorrow dwindles, what can you do? How can you walk in hope when you feel hopeless inside?

In one word, the answer to confident expectation is “JESUS” — the Jesus of Christmas.

Hope in Jesus comes from more than just a belief that He was once a baby in a manger. This hope in Him has been called “an anchor for the soul.” It is something deep within that secures you through the storms of life.

HOPE FOR HELP

We are invited to come to Him and confidently ask for help. Hebrews 4:16 tells us, “to come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).

HOPE TO OVERCOME

Things that leave one feeling powerless and hopeless come in many forms. With Christ’s strength you can overcome great obstacles, and faith in Jesus gives hope and help to overcome: “and this is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith” (1 John 5:4).

HOPE FOR POWER

Sometimes in life we find ourselves with a task that simply looks too big for us. We do not just need a cup of God’s strength added to our own; rather, we need His strength in us to do what we need to do. He will give it! 2 Corithians 12:9 says, “My grace is sufficient for you: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” Seeing our weakness as the entry point of God’s strength gives access to His power!

HOPE FOR ETERNITY

When we put our faith and hope in Jesus, it not only gives us help, strength, and power for where we walk today, but it also gives us hope for life after death. It is a confident expectation of the ultimate “tomorrow.”

The God of Hope sent His son to be our Savior. He is only one prayer away. If you want the confident expectation of His strength and wisdom in your today and His help and hope for your tomorrow, you need only ask so thay you may oveflow with hope.

“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).

A PRAYER FOR HOPE

Heavenly Father,

Advent is a time for remembering and reflecting on the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  Father, I pray that you will turn our hearts toward you as Christmas approaches.  Let us not get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the season this year and miss the chance to celebrate the gifts of hope, peace, joy, love, that you sent to us on that first Christmas.

Father God, every word in scripture points to the gift of hope that we have because of Christ Jesus.  The Christmas story wasn’t the beginning of that message of hope because the old testament is full of glimpses of your plan to redeem your people and restore them into a relationship with you, but we are able to truly begin to see and understand just how great your love for us is when we read the story of Jesus’ birth in scripture.

You showed us a glimmer of that hope as you chose to send your son into this earth through a family tree that was a little bent and scarred.  We glanced it again as you chose a tribe that was small and a city that was lowly. It can be seen when we recognize that you don’t send your Son to be birthed in a fancy palace among the wealthy and the elite, but our King of Kings and Lord of Lords was born among common shepherds and livestock in a barn.

The family wasn’t ideal.  The surroundings weren’t grand.  The situation wasn’t without its’ difficulties, however, you came in the midst of all of that.  Emmanuel.  God with us.  God in the messy.  God in the dirty.  God in the difficult and the troubled.  

Your plan to redeem and restore mankind was to dwell among us, fully God and fully man.  You chose to come to earth enrobed in the fragile soft skin of a newborn baby and set aside all of the glory of heaven for one purpose.  You came to be with us.  You came to love us.  You came die for us, so that we might live.

Help us to see that you are with us.  Nothing is too difficult, too messy, or too dirty for you.  Jesus came to give us the gift of eternal life through the salvation that only you, our Heavenly Father, can give when we believe on your Son, repent of our sins, and confess Jesus as our Lord and Savior. 

That first Christmas, you gave us the gift of hope wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger.  Thank you, Father, for your immeasurable gift.

In Jesus’ precious name, we pray.

Amen

 

Many thanks and blessings to Gail Rodgers and Bobbie Schaeperkoetter

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