This week we begin our advent celebration. Each week, four prior to Christmas Eve, we gather to light a candle and consider the coming of our savior. It is a wonderful time to stop in the midst of the season and truly focus on the reason for all the wonderful merriment of Christmas. These next four devotion entries will center on the advent themes of Hope, Joy, Peace and Love. This week we consider HOPE.
I forget what year it was, all I recall is that I was young and my dad was deployed overseas. My mom had taken my sister and I to see our grandma and family members in Illinois. It was a long ago and my entire thought process has long since been lost to time, but for some reason I had conjured an expectation in my wee little head on the way to grandma’s house. I had begun to hope that my dad was going to surprise us and be there when we arrived.(This was long before images of military dad’s and mom’s returning to surprise their families appeared on YouTube or even on television.) To this day, I am not sure why I ever thought this could happen.
So certain was I that upon entering the house I took one quick glimpse at the man before me and ran to him and wrapped my arms around his legs and shouted “dad!”. While my memory of this day has sadly grown cloudy, I do recall some things with great clarity. I remember a shocking silence. I remember allowing my eyes to truly focus on whose legs I then held. I remember seeing the sad; tear filled eyes of my dear Uncle Max and becoming aware of my mistake. I was horrified. I was embarrassed first because I had mistaken my Uncle Max for my dad, although they have always looked a lot alike. Secondly, I was embarrassed that I had even allowed myself to hope my dad would surprise me. My Uncle Max would later tell me that he never wished he was my dad any more than at that moment.
I have known misplaced hope.
I am now the proud parent of a 25yr old. Yep, as of November 27th my “baby” boy is officially a quarter of a century old! Not sure where the time went, but I am sure it did not go uncelebrated. Since Steven was born on Thanksgiving Day, his birthday has always been on or near this special holiday. It is easy to celebrate each year of his life with thanksgiving. We had hoped to start our family. The day we found he was expected was both a relief and terrifying.
I have known Hope fulfilled.
I often joke about being “hopeless” when it comes to certain things. My husband could clearly argue that I am hopeless when it comes to retaining information that is in any way technical. I have been described as hopeless when my daughter has attempts to increase my fashion sense. Just today, my son was trying to help me throw out some clutter so, as he so kindly put it, “I would not end up on an episode of Hoarders.” It is safe to say he too thinks I am a bit hopeless.
I have felt hopeless.
We are not strangers to hope. Maybe this finds you celebrating a hope fulfilled or struggling with misplaced hope. Perhaps this holiday season finds satan burdening you with feelings of hopelessness.
WE ARE NOT WITHOUT HOPE!
Today, as we celebrate the first day of advent and light the candle of HOPE, let us remember the hope for forgiveness and redemption His birth brought to us all.
We celebrate the birth of our Savior because it is through His birth, life, death and resurrection, we have the hope of forgiveness of our sins and eternity in heaven!
“But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for us appeared, He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing and regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, Whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that by being justified by His grace we might be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” Titus 3:4-7