Welcome to the Sunday Devotion. In this second week of Advent, we light the candle of Hope. Advent is a time of preparation as we look forward to celebrating the birth of Jesus. As we move toward Christmas, we must take advantage of this time of preparation. Otherwise, Christmas Day will come and go in a flurry of wrapping paper, cards, and cookies. We could miss the real reason and all the peace and hope that we experience on the path. It is the power of hope that moves us forward.
In Romans 15:4, Paul talks about how the scriptures “were written for our instruction, so that by steadfastness and by the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope.” When I read that statement I decided to query the internet for scriptures offering hope and encouragement.
In Isaiah 41:10 the scriptures say, "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."
In Philippians 4:6-7 we read, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
I personally find strength and hope as I read these passages. In Joshua 1:9 it says, "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go."
I worry about too many things and sometimes I get discouraged. But when I read even these few lines of scripture, I feel a sense of peace and hope. I am reminded that God is always with me. When I close my eyes at night, I try to look back at my day and be thankful. So many times, I have witnessed God’s hand in my life and felt blessed. Intentionally reminding myself of specific times that God has eased my fears and allowed me to be hopeful, even confident, about future outcomes, strengthens me and bolsters my faith.
I pray you find a bit of hope every day that speaks of God’s presence. And as you find the presence of God, remember the hope that Jesus represented. For generations, people spoke of and longed for the Messiah, God’s son, to come among us. We are fortunate that we know the Messiah did come. We must use this very short time to once again prepare the manger. Prepare it with love, peace and hope.
author: Bonnie Barber
Various authors throughout the Chesapeake Bay Mission Center and beyond provide these thought-provoking weekly devotions.