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Nestled in the activities of the Christmas season is hope.  A hope for which humanity longs.  Jesus is the hope.  Christmas serves as the annual reminder of the powerful penetration of the Divine into the world. He still breaks through to bring great blessings and hope–beyond feelings.  He still provokes wonder that man cannot match; wonder that Satan cannot stifle.

If grief is part of your spirit this Christmas season, trust that Jesus is with you in your grief.  He came as a baby in the manger but He is the great strength of our lives–if we will let Him be.  Let Him be.  Let the Jesus of Bethlehem be to you a warm and tender companion to walk with you this Christmas and throughout all the days of your life.  No one will love you more than Jesus.  Trust His love.

Loving Jesus, You came. You lived. You died. You rose.  You pray.  You watch.  Indeed You are, Lord Jesus, the abiding love.
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Looking ahead can seem impossible when life here and now is not as we had hoped. When loss and sorrowful experiences color the days, the future can seem meaningless and even hopeless. It is not. In Jesus there is always hope. In Jesus there is tomorrow. Jesus is the future. Jesus is the way to the future.

Christmas is all about hope. It is the great hope for all people. At all times. This means in times of grief and when life changes dramatically. To look ahead knowing that Jesus is there is to have hope. May you find the courage and confidence only Jesus the Saviour brings to give you hope this Christmas and all the days of your life. He is with you. Trust Him. He loves you so.

Lord Jesus, You came. We praise You and we exalt Your Name. You came to us. Because You did, we are never ever alone. May Your heart be full of our love for You this Christmas and all the days of our lives. In Thee, Saviour and Lord Jesus, Amen.

One of the marvelous certainties about belief in Jesus is the presence of Him with a believer. Jesus came to the world out of love. Love stays. Love gives. Jesus is the utter Giver. Therefore, He keeps His presence with you, with me, at all times and in all places. Even if that presence is not felt.

Grief tugs at the heart at special times. Christmas is one of the times when grief can be especially acute. Whether a loss is raw or if a loss happened quite some time ago, the season provokes emotions and memories. If reminders are sad or glad, Jesus is with the one who believes in Him to make the experience of remembering tender in Him. Only Jesus can absorb the pain of difficult remembrances and brand it with His touch to soothe. This Advent Season know that the living Jesus lives inside of you to be your balm.

Lord Jesus, this Christmastide we celebrate the arrival of You into the world. Some who are in pain due to grief may not feel celebratory. Yet, You, the conquering Christ, promised to be there with those who grieve. By faith, Lord, we trust You to be our companion when life hurts, and be our hope through all the seasons of our lives. In Thee, Lord Jesus, Amen.

Throughout the Christmas season, we hear much about giving. Gifts, treats, and cards are exchanged in abundance. For those who experience a loss, giving can be a hollow thought. People who grieve feel depleted; there is nothing to give. Each one of us will experience phases of grief in the course of our lives. At Christmas, and each season, when we feel as though we have nothing left to give, Jesus remains our Giver.

Jesus gives. Jesus blesses. Jesus renews. Feelings have nothing to do with whether or not Jesus is giving. He is. Because He never changes. You do. I do. His commitment to care and support is in place. Nothing can stop it. Not circumstances, not indifference. The breadth of Christ’s love for people cannot be comprehended by the human mind or heart. Faith requires trust. So this Advent Season that is filled with giving, keep your heart set on Jesus–the Giver. Everything you could ever hope for is gained when thoughts, prayers, and attention are devoted to the Lord Jesus. Keep receiving Him by faith.

Lord, You stay. You give. You comfort. You remember. You uphold. You. No one but You. Thank You, Lord for Your sustaining grace, protective love, and eternal promises. In Thee, Amen.

Time

To every thing there is a season, a time to every purpose under the Heaven.

Ecclesiastes 3:1

Time.  It passes.  Sometimes quickly.  Sometimes not.  But this is so because often our hopes and expectations are entwined in time.  When we anticipate something special, time moves much too slowly.  But when something is ahead that we would rather not face, the hour comes too swiftly.  In truth time moves at its usual pace—whether we are ready for it or not.

For some, this Christmas will be a season long anticipated as loved ones reunite with those home from military service.  Or those who rejoice because they are given the gift of a clean bill of health.  Or those with new babies who will celebrate their first Christmas.  Indeed this will be a time of joy.

Others will meet this season with resistance and tears.  Loved ones who gathered together may no longer be alive.  There are loved ones who may not be together due to divorce or estrangement.  Relocations for jobs, homes made in new cities, military service, and missionary callings will make this Christmas less joyful than some would like.  Illness, economic strain, and various challenges life imposes, will make this time of Christmas one that may not want to be faced.  Oh, but Jesus.  Jesus is the reason for Christmas.  Jesus is the reason for hope.

Jesus came to give hope.  Not the hope that humans can conjure but hope that is spiritual, lasting, and complete.  Without Jesus one truly has no hope.  With Jesus, one does have hope, perhaps weak but it is Jesus Himself who keeps hope alive, not you, not me.  Jesus.

Whatever view you take of time this Christmas season, take time to be with Jesus.  Do not let the activities of the season overtake your time with Him.  Jesus is the peace-giver and the hope-giver.  Rest your days in Him this Advent and Christmas.  Raise your sights afresh on the One who keeps hope raised for a world in deep need of hope.  His love never fails.  His hope lives.  Let His love and hope wrap around you so that time does have worth.  So that He can make time count—no matter what.

Lord Jesus, thank You for the precious gift of hope that you give to us.  Your arrival in this world signifies a joining with us so that we would never be without You.  May hearts be filled with Your hope this season.  By faith, may all of life’s circumstances be entrusted to Your care and Your view.  In Thee, Lord Jesus, Amen.