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Hope is ...
AUTHOR
Steph  »

“Hope is not blind optimism.

It's not ignoring the enormity of the task ahead or the roadblocks that stand in our path. It's not sitting on the sidelines or shirking from a fight.

Hope is that thing inside us that insists, despite all evidence to the contrary, that something better awaits us if we have the courage to reach for it, and to work for it, and to fight for it.

Hope is the belief that destiny will not be written for us, but by us, by the men and women who are not content to settle for the world as it is, who have the courage to remake the world as it should be.”

- Barack Obama

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The Joy of Hope
AUTHOR
Joan  »

I have grandchildren who, at this particular time, are full of a special sort of hope. The kind of hope that keeps them in a cloud of excitement as Christmas Day approaches.  The kind of hope that leads them to be able to tell you exactly how many days are left until December 25.  I have the impression no matter what is under the tree that day they will have their hopes fulfilled because their hearts will be open to the joy of the unexpected goodness of the people who love them. 

This is the sort of hope I try to embrace myself as the days have darkened and the world seems off kilter more than usual.  The hope that enables me to feel gratitude and joy for each day because I know God loves me and gifts me with what I need to be happy and free.  The things I put on my "list" are not always what I receive but I hold tight to the hope that the God who loves me as a parent loves a child will gift me the grace I need to grow and express God's presence in this world.

May you find and share such a hope in this season of giving and in the year to come.

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The Gift
AUTHOR
Jill  »

It’s the most wonderful time to get gifts. At least that’s what my inner child would say. I used to believe all the other Holidays were just fillers for the main event, Christmas! Once the leaves turned into their autumn hues, my brother and I were on high alert for the “big brand toy store” catalogs. We regularly checked the mail after school, and sometimes checked it twice. “It’s here!” one of us would shout, shoulder to shoulder with markers in hand we would assemble our Christmas list. Now of course we understood only a small percentage of the toys and games we desired would make it under the tree Christmas morning. And that was just fine by us, because our Christmas list was just a nonverbal proclamation to our parents of our hope for the grand gifts to come.

 

I wonder if Mary composed a list, in the months approaching the arrival of her son Jesus. As she prepared for motherhood was she contemplating all the things her baby might need or what kind of man he might be. Maybe it was beforehand when the angel Gabriel was sent to reveal that even though she was a virgin, she would conceive and give birth to the Son of the Most High (Luke 1:31-32).  Or maybe later, after visiting with Elizabeth when she declared “blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear” (Luke 1:42). Did she recite her list to her Heavenly Father in prayer? Or maybe she had no list at all. I believe Mary was stilled by the peace of the Holy Spirit; she knew she would give birth to the Messiah (the anointed one). Oh, I could only imagine her heart was full of HOPE, for the Grandest Gift of ALL to come, King Jesus.

 

What are you hoping for this Christmas Season?

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