November 28, 2022

Advent 2022 - Hope

Devotion for the Week...

Can you believe it's the first week of Advent? I can't! On our walk last Wednesday, the childcare littles spotted the first Santa decoration outside someone's house and they got so excited! We don't have any decorating done yet, but I have been listening to Christmas music. 

Over the years, I've done a few different things for Advent devotions. This year I'll be following the traditional themes of hope, peace, joy and love, which means that today's devotion focuses on hope. The first verse that comes to mind when I think of hope is found in 1 Peter 3:15: "If someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it."

This is the only time of year when the hope we have as Christians is on full display everywhere you look. It's the only time of year when songs about Jesus are played enthusiastically even by non-believers. Sure, Santa and the Grinch may get more secular attention, but you'll still find manger displays all over the neighborhood and regularly hear "Silent Night" or "O Come All Ye Faithful" at the mall.

So what exactly is this hope we have, and how can we be prepared to explain it? The answer is written right in the lyrics for I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day (Casting Crowns' version has become one of my favourites). Written during the American Civil War, by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, the poem that would become the familiar carol starts out, "I heard the bells on Christmas Day/ Their old, familiar carols play, And wild and sweet/ The words repeat/ Of peace on earth, good-will to men!" Longfellow then reflects on how those same bells would be ringing out through "all Christendom," followed by his anguish that, because of the war, the sound of cannon fire would drown out the bells' song of peace on earth.

He continued, "And in despair I bowed my head;/ 'There is no peace on earth,' I said;/ 'For hate is strong,/ And mocks the song/ Of peace on earth, good-will to men!'" That's the low point so many people experience. The feeling of no hope, that there is no good to be found and hate reigns supreme. The feeling that hate will always win. 

And yet the bells still ring.

Longfellow concluded his poem with words of everlasting hope: "Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:/ God is not dead, nor doth He sleep; The Wrong shall fail,/ The Right prevail,/ With peace on earth, good-will to men"
God loves us  so much He  sent Jesus to live among us |
The second line of that last verse spells out our hope perfectly. God is not dead and He isn't asleep. Over 2,000 years ago, He loved the world so much He sent Jesus to live among us and die as our Savior. He still loved the world that much when Longfellow wrote his poem in 1864 and He still loves the world that much today. "For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16).

God loves us and Jesus came to save us from sin and give us eternal life. That is the hope of Christmas.


  1. looking forward to all your advent posts

  2. Hope! There doesn't seem to be much hope this year when you look at the news, but for Christians, it's one of the things we can rejoice in! (And both Casting Crowns Christmas CDs are on our "repeat" playlist!)

  3. Always uplifting, and love the Holiday version of Noodles! Thanks, j


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