Advent Devotion Week 3: Hope

 Advent Devotion Week 3: Hope

Our Hope Came in a Manger

A bruised reed he will not break,
    and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out,
till he has brought justice through to victory.
 In his name the nations will put their hope.” Matthew 12:20-21NIV

Recently, I got my shingles vaccine, but it threw my body into a flare with fibromyalgia and autoimmune disease. I expected the flare, but if that wasn’t bad enough, I caught an upper respiratory virus that lasted for about three weeks. My husband got it, too, but felt better in a couple of weeks. I felt depression hovering over me as the pain and fatigue refused to leave. Depression comes at Christmas and holidays anyway since my late husband died about twelve years ago. Still, this year, I hadn’t gotten our Christmas decorations up. Winded, I went to our storage to hunt our nativity, Advent wreath, and door wreath. Doggone it! Something Christmasy is going up! I determined. It felt better to get these decorations set up for Christmas. My husband put up our Christmas tree, and I pushed myself to decorate it. My legs and hips ached as I climbed up for the umpteenth time, putting the finishing touches on it, but it’s not what I did last year.

“Honey, this is the best it gets.” Twinges in my hinges made me wince as I rasped, being reminded it was time for cold meds.

“It’s okay. It looks great! Besides, who are we doing this for?” he asked.

I thought for a moment, “Us.” We needed to do this for us. Why? Because Jesus came anyway. I learned that the first Christmas after my late husband died to celebrate anyway, even though I didn’t feel like it.

In Luke’s account of Jesus’ birth, we learn that Mary and Joseph trekked all the way to Bethlehem to register for an annoying census by the Roman government required of all people. They had to return to Joseph’s hometown, but every Jew was traveling to register for it. Mary was due any time. Certainly, exhausted and in pain with a full-term baby settled on her bladder, she rode all the way there. To top it off, the inn was full. The only space in the whole town available was in the cave out back, where travelers put their animals for the night. They set up that night, but Mary went into labor. She was probably lying on whatever they could find to make a bed, so she gave birth to Jesus. They used rags lying about, meant to wipe down animals, to wrap Jesus, and laid him in a stone hewn as a feeding trough. Mary, his mom, birthed Him with Joseph, his stepdad, who never helped conceive Him. The King of Kings wasn’t born with a “silver spoon in His mouth” with luxurious accommodations, the best midwives, or a gorgeous cradle. He came in humble circumstances.

As I look at our passage for today, we read that God is with us. We will not break or be destroyed because we are never alone. It’s because of Him, Jesus Christ, that we have hope. Because of the hope He gives us, we don’t lose our hope. He understands. We can relate to Him in the circumstances in which He came into this world.

Are you less than upbeat and happy due to losses or difficult circumstances? Grasp onto Hope. Jesus came for you. Because He came for you, celebrate anyway. Whatever means you have, find a way to celebrate the humble birth of our King of Kings, Jesus Christ. May God bless you!

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