Regardless of our upbringing, most of us have heard the term Advent at some point during the Christmas season. We may have even had an Advent calendar in our homes as a child. For 24 days leading up to Christmas, many children across the world open a calendar door each morning to find a surprise awaiting them. Sometimes it’s chocolates, and other times it’s small toys. But most often, it’s met with pure joy.

Journal: Have you ever had an Advent calendar in your home? Share any special memories you may have of Advent.

The word “Advent” actually comes from the Latin word meaning “arrival.” In essence, it’s a countdown to the celebration of the birth of our King. It’s a season where we as believers posture our hearts toward heaven and remember how God sent His only Son into this world, born of a virgin in a humble stable, to be the Savior of all who would believe in Him. What a beautiful expression of God’s love for us and a symbol of Hope for all mankind.

Read: Isaiah 9:2-7

There’s no better way to begin Advent than to light the candle of Hope. Many churches light a candle each week leading up to Christmas. You may want to do this yourself at home. In a world where hope is often bleak, the hope of our Savior is exactly what we need.

I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.—Romans 15:13 NLT

No matter where we are in life, we all have dark days. Money, status, position, possessions - none of these things can keep us from pain. We cannot rest our hope in the temporary.
But society tells us another story. We live in a world that preaches excess, the more one has the better. More money, more vacations, more self-care, more friends - all good things in moderation. Yet when we rest our happiness, our hope, and our trust in them, we often lose our peace. Those things may not always be available to us.

Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth.—Colossians 3:1-2 NLT

What happens when we’re thrown a curve-ball? Maybe our life no longer looks like the one that we planned. Where we place our hope is important. The Word of God is forever true. Jesus is our unwavering beacon of light in this dark world.

I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope.—Psalm 130:5 NIV
We may face challenges, heartaches, disappointments, and grief. We never know what tomorrow brings. But no matter what happens, good or bad, we know Who holds our future.
God is good. He loves us and wants our best. We may not always understand His ways, but we can confidently place our hope in Him and trust that He will carry us through.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.—Jeremiah 29:11 NIV

So as we begin Advent and anticipate all that this season holds, let’s posture our hearts toward our Savior in heaven and remember that true hope is found in Him.

Journal: Are you feeling hopeless, worn out, and fearful of the future? If so, journal about it here.

Activation: As we enter the Christmas season, determine to spend time in God’s Word each day and prepare your heart for the busy days ahead. Even if only 10 minutes, take this time to remind yourself of the hope we have in Jesus and ask Him to help you through whatever difficulties you are facing.

God, as we enter this Christmas season, my heart is heavy, but I know that in You there is hope. I pray that You would help me to be strong and daily choose to put my hope in You. (Psalm 31:24) I claim Your promise to renew my strength when the trials of life wear me down. (Isaiah 40:31) Enlighten the eyes of my heart so that I may fully know the hope that You have called me to and the bountiful blessings that come with it. (Eph. 1:18) You are my refuge and my shield (Psalm 119:114), and You promise to fill me with joy and peace if I trust in You. (Romans 15:13) I wait for You and stand firm on Your promises. (Psalm 130:5) I place my hope completely in You. Amen
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