Living Hope-Full
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Though you have not seen him you love him…believe him and are filled with inexpressible and glorious joy.” 1Peter 1:8 

Red and green stockings dangle empty below four red blocks, carefully centered upon my back-lit mantle. The Christmas story framed between two brass angels, nestled amongst these blocks that spell out H-O-P-E. Oh, how I need that reminder, today. 

No matter how deliberate my focus on Christ is during holiday preparation, inevitably my vision blurrs. Perfectionism rears its ugly head until my heart-joy empties into a puddle of frustration, fiery words and fatigue. I feel like an empty stocking dangling, H-O-P-E-less. 

In the quiet of morning, God reminds me today, Christmas is Emmanuel-God with us. God filling darkness with Light. God filling emptiness with Himself. God in us, the H-O-P-E of glory. Nothing I do or don’t do, nothing fancy for filled with me compares to the perfect Christ nestled amongst imperfect humanity. Nothing fills hearts more than God with us and the hope Christ carried among us.  

If we believe in Emmanuel, God’s saving grace in us, then we believe He is alive and living in, among, and through us. If this truth permeates our hearts, we cannot help but live H-O-P-E-full.  

“To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Colossians 1:27 

“What if on Christmas Eve people came and sat in dim pews, and someone stood up and said, ‘Something happened here while we were all out at the malls, while we were baking cookies and fretting about whether we bought our brother-in-law the right gift: Christ was born. God is here’? We wouldn’t need the glorious choruses and the harp and the bell choir and the organ. We wouldn’t need the tree strung with lights. We wouldn’t have to deny that painful dissonance between the promise and hope of Christmas and a world wracked with sin and evil…And we, hushed and awed by something greater and wiser and kinder than we, would kneel of one accord in the stillness…We would be filled with all the fullness of God.” (Loretta Ross-Gotta, To Be Virgin, Watch for the Light, 2001, Orbis Books).

 Prayer:

Lord, as I hang my heart under heaven’s hope this Christmas, remind me again of Emmanuel. Refresh my spirit with heaven’s rain and draw me ever close to the One born in lowly manger beneath the stars he named. Make me ever mindful of His Presence-ever watchful for His return. May I live    H-O-P-E-full.