On Sunday, December 1 we watched Ann Voskamp light the Hope candle on her Advent Wreath. Our family is reading Ann’s Advent devotional, The Greatest Gift: Unwrapping the Full Love Story of Christmas, and adding to our Jesse Tree each day. As I pondered the lighting of the Hope candle I realized that this week’s readings and thoughts all related to Hope (at least for me).
Day 1: There is hope because God created second chances.
Out of the stump of David’s family will grow a shoot — yes, a new Branch bearing fruit from the old root. Isaiah 11:1 (NLT)
Day 2: There is hope for us because God made us to bear His image. The Creator chose to imprint His image on us!
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. Genesis 1:27 (NIV)
Day 3: In the face of sin there is hope for redemption and reconciliation. God pursues us.
Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. But the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?” Genesis 3: 8-9 (NIV)
Day 4: There is hope because God wants to be with us in the midst of our pain and struggle. As Noah walked into God’s protection and care in the ark, so we have an ark in Christ.
But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD. Genesis 6:8
Day 5: We have hope when we live by faith. When God blesses the faithful He empowers us to bless others.
The LORD had said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you. “I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” Genesis 12: 1-3 (NIV)
Day 6: We experience hope when we take time to thoroughly enjoy God’s blessings.
Sarah said, “God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.” Genesis 21:6
Day 7: God always provides. There is hope because God provides the lamb– the lamb who takes away the sin of the world.
Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called that place The LORD Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided.” Genesis 22: 13-14 (NIV)
I can’t wait to see what gets “unwrapped” in the second week of Advent!