In any great adventure story, there is always a villain. In our ADVENTure, the villain is our archenemy the Devil. Because he knows the peace and power that hope, joy, and love can bring, he tries to keep us from finding them, much less fully experiencing them in our lives. In fact, because Christmas is one of the most stressful times of the year, it is easy to plow through all the festivities the season provides and end up with less hope, joy, or love than when it all started.
Brothers and sisters, this should not be!
For every wonderful promise that was fulfilled with that first advent of Jesus, our villain tries to keep that promise hidden and out of our grasp. Such is the case with hope.
Hope remains hidden behind unmet expectations.
Whether they are realistic or not, each of us has certain expectations in our work, in our relationships, in our families, even in ourselves. It isn’t wrong to have expectations, the challenge lies when you put your hope in something or someone so strongly that your hopes are dashed when the expectation is unmet. Circumstances, people, and even you, yourself, will become a disappointment. God never will. “Those who hope in Me will not be disappointed,” Isaiah 49:23b, NIV.
We are wise when our voice echoes the words of Lamentations 3:24-25, NIrV . . . 24“I say to myself, “The Lord is everything I will ever need. So I will put my hope in Him.” 25 The Lord is good to those who put their hope in Him. He is good to those who look to Him.
The only Person Who will not only meet, but far exceed your expectations is Jesus. In Him, alone, will you find what you are longing for.
Today’s Family ADVENTure!
Family Activity: Setup a nativity in your dining room or wherever you eat most meals, but do not place baby Jesus in the manger yet (store him away for a few more weeks). Place the wise men in another room far away from the crèche. Put the shepherds in still another room. When you see the empty manger, ponder the hopes and expectations Jesus embodies.
Dinner Discussion: Share an example of a time when your hopes were dashed. Discuss how you should have clung to the Lord in this situation.
During the past couple of days, I have been sharing ways that we can find hope in God. Once your soul has found true hope, the natural response is to share the hope you’ve found with others.
Part of the ADVENTure of Christmas is to look for opportunities to bring hope to those who cross your path. Some may cross your path quite naturally – such as extended family members, co-workers, neighbors, and friends.
It is probably not too difficult to figure out how to bring hope to those you already have a relationship with. Here are a few examples:
- A listening ear
- An encouraging word
- A sincere offer to help
- Praying with and for them
- A note sent through the mail
- Spending quality time together
- Sharing God’s truth and perspective
- Giving of your time, abilities and resources to help
And then there are others who would not normally cross your path, unless you were given the opportunity. For example, our church is providing a few opportunities to bring hope to others this Christmas season in the following ways:
- Operation Christmas Child – a shoebox filled with small gifts for children around the world
- Food from the Heart – a Christmas meal for Cheney families in need
- Gloves & Scarves – a bit of warmth for homeless women in Spokane will be collected at our Women’s Ministry Christmas Event tonight, “Christmas Joy”.
Let’s be people who look for ways that we can share the hope we’ve found, whether that be with people we know well, or with those we do not know. Hope is a universal language that can be understood by anyone, anywhere, at any time.
Your Friend in Ministry,