Sharing Our Stories: December 8

Writer’s Name: Douglas Oman

Writer’s Ministry:  Leadership Development Team 

Assigned Text: Luke 1:5-25

Word of the Week: Hope

When I think of Advent and the coming Christmas season, many experiences and memories fill my mind of past times with my family. The emotions I feel are; peace, joy and hope. I feel such hope when I am in God’s creation through nature. On December evenings, when I am at my cabin on Long Lake in Minnesota, I walk quietly through the woods with my insulated boots and parka. I stop and stand and listen. I see the soft, fallen snow covering the ground, the ice covered lake, and the majestic 400 year old Red and White  Pines. They amaze me! If it is a clear evening, I gaze  at the sky and see massive amounts of blinking stars. I think of the night of our Savior’s birth, and how the Wise Men followed the star to find the baby Jesus. I can only imagine the Faith and Hope they had as they traveled.  I stop and listen. It is so quiet. The only sound is the sudden crack of a branch from the icy cold temperature or a sudden boom from the shifting lake ice. It occurs to me how quiet it was for the Shepherds, and how they must have been filled with awe and hope for the future when they saw the angels. 

As I enter the log cabin, I notice the lighted Christmas tree with the twinkling, red, blue, green and while lights. I take in the pine scent and I see the blazing fire. These sights and smells invite me into the room and my imagination takes me to the manger where Jesus was born. I notice the angle sitting at the top of the tree. I wonder if the angel Gabriel is in our cabin helping us celebrate Christ’s birth. I feel hopeful that I will always appreciate the miracle of Jesus’ birth.  I remember that Hope is the first candle of the Advent wreath.

As I absorb examples of hope, I think of tragic events in my family that fostered hope during the Christmas season. I think of the loss of my wife’s father two days before Christmas when she was 18 years old. I remember my father’s death, two weeks after Christmas, when he was 57 years old. Yes, God’s plans are mysterious and unexplainable. These are the times when hope is important and powerful. We know that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope.  

Daily Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for sending Jesus, and giving us hope for peace in our world and eternal life, through You. Please send your Holy Spirit to touch us this Christmas. Amen

Discussion/Reflection Questions:

  1. Think of a time in your life when you relied on hope for change.
  2. When has the Holy Spirit touched your heart and given you a sign of hope?
  3. How often is hope a part of your daily walk in Christ?

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