Advent Week 1: Hope

Advent Reading
Isaiah 7:14, Romans 8:19

I had it all planned, I had asked for it, but what my parents had planned was better than I imagined.  Not too many years after I learned to ride a bike I was ready for an upgrade. Now don’t laugh, but to be in style a kid needed a bike with chopper handlebars and a banana seat. (I wish I had pictures, but trust me these things were cool. Just Google them.) My plan, what I asked for, was to receive just the new handle bars and seat. I would be in style but the change wouldn’t take buying a new bike, just making a few upgrades.

As with most eight-year-old kids my internal alarm clock went off very early on Christmas morning. I rushed out of my room to the Christmas tree and became blinded in my search for the handle bars and banana seat by the brand new bike sitting near the tree. It was beautiful, purple paint with metallic flakes, chopper handlebars, and a white banana seat.

My Christmas wish, expectations and hopes were exceeded by my parents, who loved me and wanted more for me than what I had dreamed.  Waiting, hoping for the right gift is something every child goes through during the weeks leading to Christmas. The wait seems like an eternity.  What if the wait was hundreds of years? That’s how long the people of God had to wait for the first Christmas. I can’t even imagine.

But what was given at the first Christmas was more than they had hoped for. It wasn’t just an upgrade to an old religious system but a baby, who grew up to be a man and willingly gave His life. It is in that sacrifice that we learn what real giving is all about.

What are you hoping for this Christmas?

May your days be filled with anticipation for Christmas morning, but may all your days be filled the reality that the true Hope for your life came to earth that first Christmas morning.

Christmas Songs of Hope
Come Thou Long Expected Jesus - Daniel Renstrom from On the Incarnation
O Come, O Come Emmanuel - Starfield from Christmas Songs

Pray for Hope
Take time and pray for those who are hurting during this season of Hope. We all know someone who is going through a difficult time, or who just doesn’t enjoy the Christmas season. Pray that they would see and know the hope that Jesus offers us, and that they would find rest in that hope.

Celebrate Hope
Early in the week place a small wrapped package on the kitchen table. Place in the box something your family would enjoy doing together: a special piece of candy, movie tickets, etc. When the family asks about the gift tell them you will open it on Sunday morning. Let the excitement build for the week. Before opening the gift review the Hope scriptures and explain how people waited a very long time for the first Christmas gift.

Find a local charity that is accepting gifts for persons less fortunate than yours. Take a family outing to purchase a gift and then deliver it to the charity. After you deliver the gift explain to your children how that gift may have been hoped for by a child. Explain that the true joy of Christmas is giving just as God sent His son as a Gift of Hope.