advent

a simple Christmas 1: HOPE

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Adapted from Advent readings prepared 12/2018 for The HUB Church, Roseville CA

Christmastime is a season of hope: of looking forward, of checking off calendar days, of hearts ripe with anticipation, longing, and promise. Like little children hoping to find that shiny new toy wrapped under the tree, we hope to squeeze every last drop of Christmas cheer into our winter days, and so we tend to overschedule, overspend, and overstress. When we try to cram too much in at Christmas, it’s really because we are searching for the hope that doesn’t fade once the pine needles have been swept away and ornaments boxed up for another year. We are searching for the hope that was sent
to us by way of a humble manger – a silent and holy night, a baby come to us as Savior, a hope fulfilled.

Christmas allows us to lift the veil on what our hearts are yearning for all year long. We long for the hope that lasts forever and overflows into every facet of our lives. The hope that breathes life into the weary spaces — into the rushing around to fit it all in, the goodies baking in the oven, the picking up that one last gift. What we long for at Christmas is the hope of Christ Jesus, the Immanuel come–He is God with us. This hope is our soul’s anchor in a life otherwise adrift, searching in all the wrong places.

Isaiah 40:31 says “but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Our greatest Hope arrived at Christmas. The story of Christmas is a King come to His people; He meets us in our hopeless state and transforms our hearts to look to Him for our greatest need. The gift of hope at Christmas is the being still, breathing deep, pausing to reflect on His promise, flooding our souls with wonder and awe. The waiting patiently, expectation, He is coming. Jesus Christ, the King, has come!

Holy Spirit, please take us back to the simple meaning of Christmas.
Help us simplify our lives, declutter our hearts, and cling to Your promises alone. Allow the everlasting hope of Jesus to shine brighter than the things of this world that pale in comparison. Yours is a hope to rejoice in, a hope that will never disappoint, and a hope that is not confined to the short seasons of this life on earth. Father, thank you for your son Jesus Christ who provided this ultimate hope for us, not only at Christmas but forever. Amen.

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