The first Christmas arrived during a bleak season for God’s people. Israel shivered in the shadows of oppression and poverty. Iron-fisted pagans enforced their rule through barbaric crucifixions. Even their fellow countrymen succombed to corruption and betrayal. Prophecies had ceased four hundred years prior, so the growing cries of Israel seemed to provoke nothing but silence from God.
The world had lost sight of all things merry. Christ arrived, not amid cheer, but in the moment when earth seemed most hopeless.
Perhaps you’ve felt out of touch with the season, fearing it seems geared toward those whose lives are already merry. But, the true story was masterminded and birthed by the Divine Author for those in desperate need, those just like you. Many church traditions center scripture studies on themes marked with an advent wreath. Each week in the month leading to Christmas, believers light a candle to honor the divine gifts bestowed upon us through Christ. Hope, love, joy, and peace represent blessings available only through Jesus which illuminate the darkness of our world.
This week’s video centers on honoring Christ’s gift of hope. The following highlights offer a means to adopt His hope this Christmas:
- “Not as the world gives” (John 14:27)
- Focus on the stable. The gift delivered to the manger and all His included blessings are our eternal gifts to dwell upon. Don’t allow the temporary and chaotic to steal His position at the center of focus.
- Minimize negative input.
- Add messages of hope to each day.
- Sharing encouragement costs you nothing and increases your life’s richness.
- If issues from the past, present, or future eclipse your hope, remind yourself “Who” governs your “when.” “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). He delivered you through the past, is able to sustain you now, and already has your future in hand.
[bctt tweet=”Remind yourself Who governs your when” username=”tyeagerwrites”]
- Hope, much like faith, simply requires us to trust God to be God. Pray the attributes of God.
- Praise extinguishes anxiety. Why do you worship God? What do you love about Him?
[bctt tweet=”Praise extinguishes anxiety.” username=”tyeagerwrites”]
- Gratitude fertilizes the growth of hope. Thank God for each blessing, especially those you might take for granted (vision, people, clean drinking water, e.g.). What might you miss if it vanished from your life?
[bctt tweet=”Gratitude fertilizes the growth of hope.” username=”tyeagerwrites”]
- Plan simple, yet joyful activities to anticipate.
- Avoid a schedule which allows no space for hope. Don’t isolate or schedule too many stressful events. Say no to hope-stealers and seek to add more hope-kindlers.
- Add spiritual traditions to honor ultimate hope (advent wreath, scripture posts on the fridge, e.g.).
- Meditate daily on hope-inspiring verses. Feel free to use the list below.
What are your favorite ways to cling to hope? Share them with us in the comments. I look forward to hearing from you.
Scriptures of Hope
- “Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” Romans 5:3-5
- “But God will never forget the needy; the hope of the afflicted will never perish.” Psalm 9:18
- “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.” Isaiah 40:31
- “I am the Lord; those who hope in me will not be disappointed.” Isaiah 49:23
- “We ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit,groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.”Romans 8:23-25
- “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'” Jeremiah 29:11
- “Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.” Psalm 25:5
- “I say to myself, ‘The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.’ The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.”Lamentations 3:24-26
- “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:12
- “Here is my servant whom I have chosen, the one I love, in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him, and he will proclaim justice to the nations … In his name the nations will put their hope.” Matthew 12:18-21
- “But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me.”Micah 7:7
- “And again, Isaiah says, ‘The Root of Jesse will spring up, one who will arise to rule over the nations; in him the Gentiles will hope.’ May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:12-13
- “Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord.” Psalm 31:24
- “And if what was transitory came with glory, how much greater is the glory of that which lasts!Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold.” 2 Corinthians 3:11-12
- “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has calledyou, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.” Ephesians 1:18-19
“A horse is a vain hope for deliverance; despite all its great strength it cannot save.” Psalm 33:17
“But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love” Psalm 33:18
“We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield.” Psalm 33:20
“May your unfailing love be with us, Lord, even as we put our hope in you.” Psalm 33:22
- “For those who are evil will be destroyed, but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land.” Psalm 37:9
“We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Thessalonians 1:3
“But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you.” Psalm 39:7
“To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Colossians 1:27
- “Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.” Psalm 42:5
- “But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet.” 1 Thessalonians 5:8
- “Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.” 1 Timothy 6:17
- “For what you have done I will always praise you in the presence of your faithful people. And I will hope in your name, for your name is good.” Psalm 52:9
- “God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain” Hebrews 6:18-19
- “Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him.” Psalm 62:5
- “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.” Hebrews 10:23
- “Do not trust in extortion or put vain hope in stolen goods; though your riches increase, do not set your heart on them.” Psalm 62:10
- “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” 1 Peter 1:3
- “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” 1 Peter 3:15
- “Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming.” 1 Peter 1:13
- “Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hopeare in God.” 1 Peter 1:21
- “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1
- “You answer us with awesome and righteous deeds, God our Savior, the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas” Psalm 65:5
“Lord, the Lord Almighty, may those who hope in you not be disgraced because of me; God of Israel, may those who seek you not be put to shame because of me.” Psalm 69:6
- “For you have been my hope, Sovereign Lord, my confidence since my youth.” Psalm 71:5
“As for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more.” Psalm 71:14
- “Never take your word of truth from my mouth, for I have put my hope in your laws.” Psalm 119:43
- “Remember your word to your servant, for you have given me hope.” Psalm 119:49
- “May those who fear you rejoice when they see me, for I have put my hope in your word.” Psalm 119:74
- “My soul faints with longing for your salvation, but I have put my hope in your word.” Psalm 119:81
“You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in your word.” Psalm 119:114
“Sustain me, my God, according to your promise, and I will live; do not let my hopes be dashed.” Psalm 119:116
- “I rise before dawn and cry for help; I have put my hopein your word.” Psalm 119:147
- “I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope.” Psalm 130:5
- “Israel, put your hope in the Lord, for with the Lord is unfailing love and with him is full redemption.” Psalm 130:7
- “Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord their God.” Psalm 146:5
- “The Lord delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love.” Psalm 147:11
- “Hopes placed in mortals die with them; all the promise of their power comes to nothing.” Proverbs 11:7