Hope – Advent Devotional Week 1
“God is the only one who can make the valley of trouble a door of hope.” – Catherine Marshall
As the advent of our Savior coming to earth is remembered and celebrated, the hope we profess is often tested and tried. The pains of life – Illness, loss, loneliness and wounded relationships, etc. can be magnified as the season ensues.
The hustle of preparations can distract us from pain until we stop and silence ourselves. Christmas music, decorations and family traditions may dull the pain of hopelessness…but our heavenly father sees and can disarm the power of this world’s pain with hope today as he did in many years past when the first Christmas was arriving.
What was young Mary thinking when she realized that she would bear the son of God? What would she say to her family as a young engaged girl who found herself pregnant? Mary had to wonder what would happen to her when the angel told her she would be with child. Surely anxious thoughts of embarrassment, fear and uncertainty crept into her mind… But hope prevailed. The hope that what the angel said was true, the hope that she indeed would bear a son and name him Jesus, the hope that her cousin Elizabeth would also be pregnant as the angel told her. By God’s grace the baby in Elizabeth’s womb leapt at Mary’s (Jesus’s) arrival! I can only imagine the comfort Mary felt as she was with Elizabeth.
Young Mary embraced her dilemma with grace and held to hope. Hope. Yes…Hope. “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love.” 1 Cor. 13:13a
When we have hope we dare to love. When we have hope we step into situations that might be uncomfortable with a different perspective. When we have hope we can face fears head on and receive grace.
The first week of Advent is underway. Let’s usher in this sacred season knowing that we will likely need an intentional reminder of our true hope during the upcoming weeks.
My prayer today is that we have hearts that are ready to receive as we embrace our Savior coming to earth and that we have hearts that are determined to give. May we pray that we see the needs which God has called us and equipped us to meet and grasp the grace to humbly serve in them. Oh Father, show each of your plan for how we can give others hope this season. Help each of us to rest solidly with hope in you. Amen.
Below are a couple suggested verses for my scripture memory friends – if you haven’t joined us this year maybe you’ll consider memorizing some verses with us next year! It’s a powerful habit indeed!
“He is the one we proclaim admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ. To this end I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me.” Col. 1:28-29
“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess for he who promised is faithful.” Heb. 10:23