Which is why the holiday seasons we revel in these winter months – Advent, Hanukkah, and Christmas – bring such delight. These festivals of light. These celebrations of anticipation and thankfulness.
For Advent this year, I’m going back to re-read The Greatest Gift, by Ann Voskamp (along with several fellow writers and, perhaps, the whole of the (in)courage community!) and our family will be reading, Unwrapping the Greatest Gift (also authored by Ann) and discovering the Jesse Tree in our Advent family devotion time.
Tonight at the table, we lit the first Advent candle – the candle of hope.
I read from one of my favorite chapters in Isaiah – 40 – and shared these words of hope with my sweet family gathered near:
Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.
Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her
that her warfare is ended,
that her iniquity is pardoned,
that she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins.
A voice cries:
“In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord;
make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low;
the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain.
And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed,
and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
What else could bring hope more, than the utterance of assurance from the God of the universe? What he has spoken will come to pass. What he spoken is true, and right, and will be honored. His word stands forever and it the foundation of our lives.
I also love the hope declared at the end of this chapter:
He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength.Are your tired and weary? Has this year been more than you feel you can bear? Does it feel as if the light of this season cannot possibly reach into the depths of your suffering and struggle?
Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted;
but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint.
He hears and he knows. The Father of compassion, the God of all comfort sees your heart and reaches out now and always to draw you near. To give you strength. To give you endurance. To give you hope.
I pray that the light of hope will be kindled and renewed in your hearts as we move forward into this season of discovering the greatest gift.
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