The thought for the week this week is
Hope came. Hope chose us. Hope calls us his beloved.
Upside down grace
The word ‘hope’ is used a lot at this time of year. Maybe we have a list of things we ‘hope’ we are going to get for Christmas. Maybe we ‘hope’ that there aren’t going to be any family squabbles over the Christmas break. Maybe we ‘hope’ that the XFactor single doesn’t get to number one. Maybe we ‘hope’ that it will be a white Christmas.
We use the word hope to talk about things we would like to happen but that we can’t necessarily say it will. I know I’m getting a new dressing gown for Christmas, I ‘hope’ that it is one I like! I ‘hope’ that I get most of my work done so that I don’t have much to do over the holiday.
This week is the start of advent: we get to open calendars everyday (or eat a lot of chocolates in one go when we forget daily); we get to put up the decorations; we get to write cards; wrap presents; get the food; go to parties; wear silly jumpers (which are suddenly acceptable). A lot of preparation is involved.
Advent is all about preparation, but it is not about preparing for the practicalities of Christmas, it is about preparing to celebrate the birth of Christ.
It is the birth of Christ that gives Christians Hope. Hope is not about wishful thinking, hope is about knowing that God is in control and that God is going to be there holding our hand the entire way. There are loads of promises throughout the Bible. Many of the promises of the Old Testament were fulfilled when Christ was born. This gives us hope that all the promises God has made will happen. They are not pipe dreams, they will become actuality.
By having hope in these promises, it means that we can get on with our daily lives knowing that God has got it all sorted. We have our part to play, and we may not know what God has in store, but we have that hope that God knows – because he has promised.
One promise that has given me hope throughout my life is this
“For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you, not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”
I have no idea what God has in store, and there is no way this time last year that I had any idea I would be doing what I am doing now. There have been some real highs in my life and there have been some real lows but since coming across this promise it has given me that hope that God knows me, He has no intention to harm me, but only wants good for me. And it is through recognising that good that I have hope in the rubbish times.
Prayer – Father God, thank you for coming to this earth in the person of Jesus. We thank you for the hope that gives to us. We pray that we will recognise your promises to give us hope in the everyday. Amen
Challenge – This week recognise the good in yourselves and in others. Help them to see God’s promises fulfilled in them.
Written by Mrs. H. Netherton