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Hope! that is different 
'On a mission to fill our hearts and minds with hope! The theme of the first week of Advent is just that -- hope! An advent wreath with accompanying candles for the four weeks is a great way to remind yourself of this sacred heart preparation.
Hope can seem like an ethereal optimism, but I should like to remind us that our hope is different. We are not like a little child, hoping to find what she wants under the Christmas tree, hopes dashed when she rips off the paper to expose the wrong doll, not the one that filled her dreams. No, our hope is not like that of the sports fan hoping against hope that his team will make the championship . . . for these reveal a shallow, fragile, perhaps even baseless hope. That is not ours.
When I put pen to journal paper in prayer this morning, I asked the Lord about this matter of hope, then sat quietly. It seems our hope should not feel any different at Christmas this year than it did previous years if we are focused on the right things. This season of Advent ~ as we are turning our heart toward the sleepy town of Bethlehem where our Lord entered the world, our biggest reason for hope is that our hope is in the Creator who loves us and holds us in the palm of his hand--that is, when we do not jump out!
Our hope is different! We live in a time when we know the Savior came as had been foretold, hundreds of years before in specific prophecies! Refresh your mind with just eight of these - as it will refresh your faith on the historical truth of the scriptures: https://conta.cc/3lnkLoq. We read all about that Messiah in a complete Bible, whose veracity has been proved through archaeology, science, other historians of the day, fulfilled prophecies and the fact that it is the best-selling book of all time, having the divine imprint that actually changes the individuals who read it! [read that sentence again] And we see how Jesus also kept his Word by doing what he said he would do, including sending the Holy Spirit, who lives within Christ followers.
 
I mean . . . while Jesus' teaching, love, miraculous works, crucifixion and certainly his resurrection(!) spoke mightily to the people of his day, we hold the accounts of all of those events - including the records of Jewish historian, Josephus and first century Roman historian, Tacitus--yes, plus the written prophecies and hundreds of years of other corroborating evidence. With my own eyes, I have seen the archaeological evidence too - places that have been excavated that bear witness to real people and places referenced in New Testament accounts. So truly, we have all of the ability to see that Jesus was the Christ, our Messiah. He is our hope! The One who came and who is coming again. The One with whom we can have a relationship.
 
So, what? So you and I have every reason to light our trees, sing 'Joy to the World', serve others in the name of Jesus and wish a 'Merry Christmas' . . . we love and serve the Lord of Lords and King of Kings, Jesus, the promised Messiah.
Pray: God of hope, as you came to us, may we come to You. May we make time to look to you with open hearts and yearning spirits. During this Advent season, we want to make room for you.  We will watch for you, open your Word, just longing to hear from you. Our hope is in you, Messiah, who came as a babe, who is our coming King! Amen.
God proves to be good to the man who passionately waits,
to the woman who diligently seeks.
It’s a good thing to quietly hope,
    quietly hope for help from God.  
Lamentations 3.25-26, The Message
with love,
Christine
PastorWoman.com

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