Hope in this Season of Advent

The tree is up; my girls have placed the decorations all along the bottom of the tree; we’ve been to see Santa, and Max Lucado’s The Fruitcake Christmas now has daily showings.  The Christmas Season has definitely arrived at the Okala household. 

In watching the simple joy of my girls in all of the preparations for the season, I have been convicted of how much I have let anxiety and fear take away from the delight of living in the present moment.  I look back on the previous year and, in addition to wondering where the year has gone, I am wondering why I remember so little of what I have done.  How little time I have spent deepening my relationship with God and being present for my family.  I have gotten lost in the hustle and bustle of day-to-day living and difficult circumstances. 

I was really struck by these words written by Dennis Bratcher in his reflection on Advent (www.crivoice.org/cyadvent.html):

 “If our hope is only in our circumstances, as we define them to be good or as we want them to be to make us happy, we will always be disappointed.  That is why we hope , not in circumstances, but in God.”

These words hit me hard, because they made me realize how much time I have spent praying to God about changing our circumstances rather than asking Him for His will in our lives.  I have been asking for the circumstances that I think will make me feel happy and secure.  I keep thinking that if we could just get a little further ahead, have a little bit nicer place to live and no financial uncertainties then I will be able to focus on my walk with God.  My priorities have truly been upside down, and that explains a lot of the ups and downs of the past year.

What does it look like to truly place my hope in God and not in my circumstances?  This is the big question that I will be exploring during this Advent Season.  I will look at the prophecies of the Old Testament about Christ’s coming, the story of Jesus in the New Testament, and prophecies about His second coming.  May He be glorified!

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