The holidays are upon us and with them come a mixed bag of emotions, fun, stress, drama and anticipation. Perhaps like me, you have lost someone or something you value this year. It may have been a parent, a home, a job, a son or daughter or a relationship. The holidays will not be the same this year, you may be thinking to yourself.

But are they ever the same? A lot changes in the course of a year, doesn’t it? Friends get married. Others get divorced. Babies are born. Loved ones die. Old friends move away. New friends come into our lives. Things rarely stay exactly the same as the year before.  Life changes and that is a good thing. The certainty of change means there is always hope.

As the season of Advent begins, the focus for this week is Hope. It is the first gift of Christmas.
It is a time to reflect back on the year and ask ourselves what can we do differently next year to improve our lives, to live closer to God, and to walk more in love. Each of us is on our own path and we each have different steps to take, but take them we must, if we want to move forward into a more peaceful and rewarding life.

We may need to let go of unforgiveness or bitterness; be more grateful, generous, less self-centered. We may need to laugh more and stress less; surrender more and control less, trust more, and fear less. In every trial, there is a hidden treasure in the form of a lesson to be gleaned and applied to our lives.

Look at the example of the young girl named Mary. When the angel of the Lord told her she was going to be with child, which in essence meant she was going to be an unwed mother, a crime punishable by stoning, what was her response? “Let it be done unto me according to your word.” Mary was willing to trust and to surrender her life and her will for God’s purposes. Can we say as much?

Mary’s hope was in the Lord and in His great love for her. For this same reason, we, too, can have hope this holiday season. When we are secure in the knowledge of God’s immeasurable and unfailing love for us, no matter what comes our way, good or bad, we can rest in God’s promise to be with us. His name, Emmanuel, means exactly that – God with us. Like Mary, sometimes we don’t know what the future holds, but we can hold fast to the One who does.

What are your hopes this holiday season? What is the longing of your heart? Whatever it is, give it to the Lord, and trust that He will surround you with His amazing love this season. His gifts are for every child of His and that means all of us.

If this post has encouraged you,& you’d like to receive my weekly posts, please enter your email in the space provided and do pass it on. Someone you know may need a little hope this season. Until next week, keep looking up!

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