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This is week one of the Advent Season. Much like Lent, believers would fast and pray from mid-November until Christmas. Originally, it was a time for believers to prepare themselves for baptism, but during the Middle Ages, the focus changed to the Second Coming of Jesus. Only in recent years has the focus changed to the Nativity. 


This is the season of hope. Or hopelessness, depending upon what is going on in or around you right now. Let’s be honest. Christmas isn’t a bright and joyful spot for all of us every year. Sometimes, life is just tough.

In 2018, my dad went into the hospital in mid-December and we discovered some very serious health issues that had been hidden for years. On Christmas Eve, we moved him into a skilled nursing facility. That turned out to be the best decision, but it was hard. And made Christmas difficult.

When life is difficult, is hope lost? Or can we always hang onto hope no matter what?

We can’t always see what God is doing, but can’t we assume he is up to something good? ~Max Lucado, You’ll Get Through This

Where Is God in This Season of Hope?

Christmas has always been my favorite season of the year. Not that it’s always good or easy. The year Dad went into a nursing home was difficult. And remembering that through the years many in my family have died in January, it can be easy to turn to hopelessness or bitterness.

When life hits hard, the questions about God quickly circle our thoughts:

  • How can He be good and allow this?
  • Can He not control what’s happening?
  • Does He even care?

But this is the season of hope, if you want it to be. Christmas is the season of hope because out of incredible love that we cannot completely understand, we can remember that God in His love sent Jesus to earth. Jesus in His love was obedient all the way to His death on the cross. And if that wasn’t already enough, the Holy Spirit in His love lives within those who accept these truths. That should so fill us wth hope that it splashes over onto those around us.

Books That May Help

If you struggle to live in hope this holiday season, a fresh perspective from someone who has been there can help. Our enemy wants us to believe that we are alone, but we never are. We not only have the Holy Spirit, but others on this earth have struggled where you struggled, faced what you face, journeyed past where you feel stuck.

Here are some books that may offer a life-changing, hope-filled view that you need this Christmas.

Living in the Shadow of Death front coverLiving in the Shadow of Death: Learning to Thrive through Tragedy and Uncertainty by Carrie Daws

172 pages. Paperback and eBook versions. Grief hits us unexpectedly. A job loss, a failed relationship, a health crisis, an unexpected move, a rebellious teen, and other difficult circumstances force themselves upon us, demanding our attention. Fear, insecurity, and loneliness intimidate us into quiet submission and attempt to dictate our choices. But what if we could shove them out our front door? With loving concern and unyielding devotion for those facing a loss they never imagined, Carrie opens up her heart to reveal the biblical truths she’s learned through the heart-wrenching turbulence in her own life.

The Storm Inside: Trade the Chaos of How You Feel for the Truth of Who You Are by Sheila Walsh

224 pages. Hardback, paperback, eBook, and audiobook versions. Women feel the storm activity all around. We find ourselves teetering somewhere between everyday chaos and crisis. We can feel a storm brewing, we are in the middle of a storm, or we are facing the aftermath of a storm. But don’t be afraid because it is possible to grow through turbulent times. Storms show you what’s really going on inside, reveal what you really believe, and actually make you stronger. In these pages, you will learn to see yourself as God sees you, not as someone forever tossed by the waves but as a woman fully known, fully loved, and growing ever deeper in faith and hope.

You’ll Get through This: Hope and Help for Your Turbulent Times by Max Lucado

240 pages. Paperback, eBook, and audiobook versions. You fear you won’t make it through. We all do. We fear that the depression will never lift, the yelling will never stop, the pain will never leave. In the pits, surrounded by steep walls and aching reminders, we wonder: Will this gray sky ever brighten? This load ever lighten? In You’ll Get Through This, pastor and New York Times best-selling author, Max Lucado offers sweet assurance. With the compassion of a pastor, the heart of a storyteller, and the joy of one who has seen what God can do, Max explores the story of Joseph and the truth of Genesis 50:20. What Satan intends for evil, God redeems for good. (NOTE: You can read my thoughts on this book by clicking here.)

FINAL THOUGHTS

 

God didn’t give us His Word to use like a weapon or some kind of Hallmark card we can pass across the fence and keep some distance. It is a weapon, but one designed for use against our enemy, not against our sisters. It is meant for encouragement, not for pat answers in the midst of real pain. ~Sheila Walsh, The Storm Inside

Walking through difficult times is, well, difficult. Sometimes just finding the strength to get out of bed is more than we want to do. It’s okay to cry and doubt and wrestle with the Almighty as you walk through your pain. But we were not made to forever wallow in despair. Hopelessness is not our legacy.

This Christmas season, I’m praying that you find more and greater hope than ever before.

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