Thursday, December 2, 2010

Hope

I can't believe it's Christmas time again.  Last year I was ready.  I spent the month of November focusing on gratitude and was so excited for Christmas to come.  I was focused and I had a plan.  This year it snuck up on me.  I've spent the last three weeks in a little bit of a fog.  I'm feeling rather bewildered, and I also feel a little guilty that my focus has been fairly self-centered recently. 

Sunday morning we lit the first Advent candle on our wreath at church.  It's the candle that symbolizes the hope of the season.  And I'm ashamed to say I didn't give it much thought beyond "oh, that's nice".

Until later.

I spent the last three weeks wondering if an ultrasound machine was going to give us good news.  Tuesday afternoon I was a total nervous wreck.  (Is there anything that takes control away from you like the process of growing a person?!)  It was the day before my doctor appointment, and I could not seem to grab onto a sense of peace about the situation.  On my way home from work I turned to what has recently become my favorite coping tool - praise music.  I plugged in the mp3 player, set it on shuffle, and took off down the highway.  Here's what came out of my speakers:

He came to live a perfect life
He came to be the Living Word, our Light
He came to die so we'd be reconciled
He came to rise to show His power and might

That's why we praise Him
That's why we sing
That's why we offer Him our everything
That's why we bow down and worship this King
Cuz He gave his everything

He came to live again in us
He came to be our Conquering King and Friend
He came to heal and show the lost one His love
He came to go prepare a place for us

That's why we praise Him
That's why we sing
That's why we offer Him our everything
That's why we bow down and worship this King
Cuz He gave his everything
And driving down the Dallas North Tollway on a Tuesday night I was once again reminded that no matter what the ultrasound showed my reason for praising God would remain unchanged.  And suddenly, that Advent candle made a lot more sense. 

When we celebrate Christmas we're not just celebrating the birth of Jesus.  It's not about the manger, or the shepherds, or the angels singing from heaven.  It's about the beginning of something new for mankind.  I know this is a rather elementary lesson, and it's not new to me, but it's something I needed to be reminded of this year.  We have a promise from God that is unchangeable and eternal.  Jesus Christ - that tiny little baby that came to this earth so long ago - has gone on before us and is interceding for us with God Almighty.  He paid our debts.  His blood wiped the slate clean.  And in this we have Hope. 

No matter what the ultrasound shows.

No matter what amount next week's paycheck is.

No matter what struggles we face.

We have a Hope that is certain. 
That's why we praise Him
That's why we sing
That's why we offer Him our everything
That's why we bow down and worship this King
Cuz He gave his everything
This Christmas I will listen to the songs and look at the nativity scenes with a different perspective.  Not because of the little miracle growing inside me right now, but because I want to constantly be reminded that the little baby in those songs and those nativity scenes represents the Hope that I have in God's eternal promise. 

There is no greater gift that God could have given, and that is the true meaning of Christmas!

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