This week, I want to ask all of you to make a concentrated effort this year, (me, too!) to stay open to all possibilities of being surprised by HOPE!
The holidays are fast approaching, (sigh!) and this is the time of year when expectations and reality can sometimes have messy collisions, right?
I don’t want to do that this year!
I want to give that vague feeling of disappointment the heave-ho!
In fact, I am determined not to let discouragement in my door again!
I don’t know about you, but my realities, never seem to live up to all the glitz and glamour with their “shiny idealized images,” and their Norman Rockwell message of:
“This is what your life should look like, and ‘poor you,’ because it doesn’t!”
In search of little miracles
I’m not saying, “Don’t expect a wonderful holiday…”
But I am saying, “Don’t miss the little miracles that God might see fit to send your way.”
Keeping my expectations open (for me) means keeping my eyes open to the everyday small things… the little surprises of God’s love that can show up in unexpected places–bringing with them, those smaller gifts of hope.
I love Thomas Kincade as much as the next guy. (He hangs on my wall, too.) But Jesus, who is The Light of the World, came to a cave of animals, straw, and manure–and darlin’ that is Christmas-real! Our greatest HOPE, came from God of Eternity past, as His one and only Son, the only cure for our broken world, via a humble, ordinary girl.
Open eyes and hearts
While Emilie is preparing our tea, she suddenly turns, and joins our conversation…
If I insisted on feeling good in order to feel hopeful–well, there would be many days when my cup of hope turned up empty! … but I’ve learned if I can wait and keep my heart and mind open, HOPE comes to me in SURPRISING ways… In those SMALL gifts of hope I find the energy and will to keep going… They might not be exactly what I thought I wanted, but somehow they connect me more closely to God than getting my own way would.
God’s promises: derail disappointment by bringing us new hope!
- Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in you. Psalm 25: 5 NLT
- Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again— my Savior and my God! Psalm 43: 5 NLT
- “Look at my Servant, whom I have chosen. He is my Beloved, who pleases me. I will put my Spirit upon him, and he will proclaim justice to the nations. He will not fight or shout or raise his voice in public. He will not crush the weakest reed or put out a flickering candle. Finally he will cause justice to be victorious. And his name will be the hope of all the world.” Luke 12: 18-21 NLT
- This is why I wait upon you, expecting your breakthrough, for your word brings me hope. Psalm 130:5 TPT
Our fourth cup
During the holiday season I can get so busy and distracted that I forget all about “the forgotten.”
I can sometimes get so full of the non-stop barrage of Christmas-hype, with pictures of holiday perfection, that I completely lose sight of the real HOPE of the season.
Let’s agree… Not. this. year.
How about tucking a homemade card in a Thanksgiving Box for a family that might be running low on hope? Or how about helping with a meal and a hug at the local homeless shelter? Preparing boxes at the food bank? Singing at the retirement home? Letters to our military heroes serving far from home?
Ask God to help you just do one small thing, that might make a great big difference, and bring HOPE to someone this holiday season.
Help me (and all of us!) to remember this year what the REAL Christmas is all about… it’s about Jesus.
What it is not: is tinsel, and trees, and making it perfect!
Help us to make a small space in our hearts this year for HOPE and the simplicity of Christmas as it was supposed to be, and then to take those gifts out into the world for others.
May we GO in Your name–no matter how humble our hope.
I make this request in the Name of Your Son, Jesus, amen.
* Emilie’s “gems” are shared with the permission of Harvest House Publishers. They are: Taken from: A CUP OF HOPE by Emilie Barnes, Copyright © 2000, Published by Harvest House Publishers
Photos courtesy of: Unsplash
This weeks photo credits and “My Thanks!” go to photographers: Andre Guerra, Ben White, Brigitte Tohm, David Brooke Martin, and Drew Beamer