Tag Archives: hope

Hope Helps Me Hang On…

“Every day I put hope on the line.”

(attributed to Eugene Peterson)

     In Monday’s post, the first of Advent season, we recalled the hope of the nation of Israel. For hundreds of years, prophets foretold the coming of the Messiah.

     The Jewish nation hoped and waited for a savior for a very long time. More than 700 years before the birth of Jesus, the prophet, Isaiah, foretold the Messiah’s birth,

Therefore, the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel. (Isaiah 7:14)

     “Some scholars believe there are more than 300 prophecies about Jesus in the Old Testament. These prophecies are specific enough that the mathematical probability of Jesus fulfilling even a handful of them, let alone all of them, is staggeringly improbable—if not impossible.[1]

     The ancient Christmas hymn, O Come O Come Emmanuel summarizes beautifully the hope of many:

O come, O come, Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan’s tyranny
From depths of Hell Thy people save
And give them victory o’er the grave
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Day-Spring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night
And death’s dark shadows put to flight.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

     While the Jewish nation stumbled through many dark seasons, hope concerning the coming Messiah helped many hang on to their faith. Others lost or discounted the power of hope. They ignored the prophets’ words. Instead, they chose to listen to voices that led them into even deeper darkness.

     Hope is huge! Hope helps you and me hold on during dark days, or even long, dismal, seemingly hopeless seasons.

May hope be kindled in your heart this holy season of Advent…

Sue Reeve

  1. https://www.jesusfilm.org/blog-and-stories/old-testament-prophecies.html

Advent – Week One HOPE

As I enter through the gates of thanksgiving into the kingdom of Advent, reign in love on the throne of my heart… Amen

(Centering Prayers, Peter Traben Haas)

     Thanksgiving arrived late on the 2019 calendar. At our house, the Christmas tree was up and much of the house was already decorated on Thanksgiving Day. Because some family members will not be with us for Christmas, following dessert, we transitioned from Thanksgiving into a mini-Christmas celebration.

Back row: left to right: younger daughter, Sarah, her hubby, Brandon; son-in-law Jon and older daughter, Angie; my mom, Kathryn; second granddaughter, Mackenzie and boyfriend, Gavin; Sue, Ron. Front row: left to right: younger grandson, Reeve, youngest granddaughter, Emmi; Merci, our pooch, and Freddie, Angie & Jon’s dog, all decked out in their Christmas outfits. Missing: oldest granddaughter, Sydney and her boyfriend, Bryan, and older grandson, Jackson. Love, love, love, my people!!

     If you know me well, you know I love everything Christmas. The sights, the sounds, the scents of the season fill me with excitement—and, I admit, sometimes, exhaustion.

     In my non-liturgical faith tradition, little emphasis was placed on Advent, the four weeks leading up to Christmas. A couple years ago, I downloaded an Advent devotional, which I read daily until December 25th.

     I loved this newfound dimension of Christmas and determined I’d delve more deeply into the sacred meaning of the holy season. Last year I created an Advent wreath for our home as well as blogged about each week’s Advent theme.

     During December 2019, I will be reprinting many of those posts in the Listening on the Journey… blog. Each week, the focus will be on a traditional theme of Advent:

     There are variations of the order in which each week is symbolized. This order may differ from the one you’re using. The weekly designations I’ll use are:

     Week One, symbolizing HOPE;

     Week Two, symbolizing PEACE;

     Week Three, symbolizing JOY;

     Week Four, symbolizing LOVE.

     On Christmas Eve, our two youngest grandkids will light a fifth, taller candle, symbolic of Jesus, the true reason for this lovely season.

     This first week of Advent reminds us of the long-hoped-for Messiah, the arrival of Emmanuel (also spelled Immanuel), through the mystery of the incarnation.

Christmas is about the incarnation of Jesus. Strip away the season’s hustle and bustle, the trees, the cookies, the extra pounds, and what remains is a humble birth story and a simultaneously stunning reality — the incarnation of the eternal Son of God.

This incarnation, God himself becoming human, is a glorious fact that is too often neglected, or forgotten, amidst all the gifts, get-togethers, pageants, and presents…[1]

     In Thursday’s post, I will focus further on the importance of the hope of Emmanuel. Until then,

Blessings as you ponder the mystery of the incarnation and the hope of Christmas…

Sue Reeve

  1. Joseph Scheumann, www.desiringgod.org/articles/five-truths-about-the-incarnation

Remaining Hopeful When Life Feels Dark…

Photo from near the High Point summit of Palomar Mountain Range, San Diego County.

     The young professional woman’s disappointment was palpable.

          She’d just received the call.

               This wasn’t the first time her ‘dream job’ had slipped away.

                    Would she ever be the one selected?

     The worried wife’s shoulders drooped.

          The doctor’s words weren’t what she wanted to hear.

               Her husband’s diagnosis was dire.

                    Will we be able to make it through this?

     Fear walked alongside as she entered her child’s classroom.

          The teacher’s report wasn’t good.

               Her boy’s behavior was disruptive; he was failing most subjects.

                    How could she help this son she loved so dearly succeed?

     The possible scenarios are endless.

     Perhaps you’re trying to find your way through the darkness even now.

     No doubt about it. Life can be difficult. Some situations are dark and seem hopeless. Finding a way through is scary. It may even feel impossible.

     My life journey has included several ‘dark days.’ Some I’ve walked through with grace and dignity. Many, I haven’t!

     While not my favorite teachers, disappointment, discouragement and despair can be great instructors. Here are a few lessons they’ve taught me:

  • Often, my most valuable life learning has happened as a result of suffering. As I’ve trudged through a difficult season, along the way I’ve discovered strength that seemed impossible, resources I’d never imagined existed. I’ve developed self-awareness that has enabled me to grasp what does and does not work well for my God-design.
  • I’ve learned much about my own life by listening to or reading the stories of older or more spiritually mature people who have ‘been there, done that’ and are willing to share what helped them. Other’s transparency, authentic counsel and encouragement have more than once helped me make sense of my unique journey and point me in a new, more positive direction.
  • I have power to make personal choices. Most importantly, I can choose how I will respond. Will I choose bitter, or will I choose to learn and grow, accept and forgive? The freedom to choose is a great gift God gives.
  • Dark days are real. Unknown outcomes are scary. Weeping will occur. Despite the darkness, however, I’ve learned God is good—always good. At the core of who I am, I believe God knows me better than I know myself and desires the best for me and those I love.
  • It’s all right to weep and feel angry at times. But, it’s also important to act. I’ll be most successful when I keep placing one foot of faith in front of the other, cry out for God’s wisdom along the way and determine to seek increased knowledge.
  • As I cooperate and allow God’s will to supersede my idea of what is best, hope arises. Dawn of a new day breaks. As the psalmist said so eloquently, “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” (Psalms 30:5)

Blessings as you hold on to HOPE despite the darkness of your circumstances…

Sue Reeve