It's a cold and frozen day, with ice on the roses and wind playing the frozen leaves of the pecan tree like chimes.
As we wait to see if there will be snow or only cold, my daughter practices a song for Sunday- Winter Snow .
And I think of how He comes when we seek Him-
His Spirit comes, soft and slow, and fills our hearts with HOPE.
And in this first week of Advent, I search for hope and find it- in the hard and hurting moments, in the joy and the pain. My HOPE is found in the Word, in Jesus, Immanuel- God with Us.
This God, who comes to earth as a babe, walks with us in our mess and our madness.
This God with Us who takes our sin and our shame upon his sinless Self, and dies for us.
He now LIVES, now LOVES, now ABIDES with us, and brings us HOPE.
HOPE even in the pain of losing a beloved friend this week.
HOPE even when lungs harden and breath doesn't come, and the doctors say there is nothing they can do.
HOPE when I stand in a hospital room holding my grieving friend, praying silently for mercy.
HOPE as we wait, and her husband breathes his last, and he is gone.
HOPE in the dark days following death, when the calendar marked with cruise, is replaced with a casket.
HOPE when even though we know this is real, it still isn't yet on so many levels.
Yes, even in death there is HOPE.
Because heartbroken as we are right now,
we know, without a shadow of a doubt,
we have all confidence in our HOPE in HIM-
that one day, some day, we will see our loved one again;
and we shall see JESUS, He who is our only HOPE,
face to face.
And so, as we gather to sing and pray, laugh and cry,
and say goodbye for now-
And on this wintry day, when my heart hurts,
I search for gifts of HOPE from World Vision, Harvest of Hope, IJM-
gifts of animals, seeds, medicine, Bibles.
Help and hope for those who can't help themselves.
And I smile, knowing that along with these small gifts
will come a greater gift-
hearing the story of JESUS, our HOPE and HELP.
And I smile as I remember last Sunday,
when I gave the teens a sheet with
scribbled on it and asked them to share their hopes with us.
And there, amidst the hopes for passing grades, college, and family were these:
"I HOPE to go to Africa"
"I HOPE to go on many mission trips"
3 friends, all desiring to take HOPE in JESUS into this world.
And that my friends, brings me great HOPE and tremendous Joy this season.
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 15:13
What are you hoping for this season?
What gives you hope these days?
Who are you hoping in?