This Advent as we focus on celebrating the arrival of the Messiah, let’s walk through this series of devotional thoughts together!
Each week there will be 5 devotional thoughts that will focus on a different facet of the topic of the week- Hope, Joy, Love and Peace. There will be scriptures, personal sharing, journaling questions, posting challenges and more. And there’s a playlist for each week.
Do the 5 devos however you like - weekday mornings or evenings, a couple here or there, or even in one lump sum on the weekend or your day off.
However you do them, our hope is that you will:
- Experience Hope, Joy, Love and Peace in new ways.
- Feel connected with others in our Worship Center family.
- Be prompted in practical ways to live out your faith in real life.
Enjoy the journey!
The Good News of Christmas is Hope
HOPE: DAY 1
Hope is Coming & Hope is Here
“Advent” is a season just prior to Christmas where we remember and celebrate the fulfillment of the promised Messiah! The hope of the world in human form!
The word “advent” includes a form of waiting for an arrival. We do that every year with Christmas.
How many days until Christmas? The anticipation is part of the joy and the journey. We are waiting together, but celebrating on the way.
Christmas Day is kind of like a sunrise. It always comes.
But remember when you were a kid and Christmas felt so far away, like it would never come? And then, sure as the sunrise, it came. Eventually.
Hope is kind of like that.
Think about it, if there is no waiting there is no need for hope.
Before Jesus was born the people were waiting and hoping for the Messiah to come. John the Baptist’s father, Zechariah, said this about Jesus.
Because of God’s tender mercy, the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, and to guide us to the path of peace. Luke 1:78-79
So, what are we waiting for? I’m waiting for the kingdom to come in fullness on the earth - for all people to know His love and peace, for there to be no more sorrow. I’m believing for the coming time that Revelation promises:
God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” Revelation 21:3b-5
This is His promise. This is what is coming and what is here.
This year has brought a lot of sorrow and even death, crying and pain. There is darkness all around us, but His light shines within us.
God offers hope. Every day the dawn comes. Every year Christmas comes.
And we can have a sure hope that God is, and will, shine his light on us. He brings “light to those who sit in darkness”.
Advent actually means coming - the arrival of a notable person, thing, or event.
Jesus is that notable person. Hope is the thing. And the arrival of the Kingdom is the event!
When I focus on the stuff of this world, the suffering, the conflict, the pain, frankly I get discouraged and hope leaks from my heart. When I look to God I get refueled, my perspective shifts, and light overcomes the darkness.
Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again— my Savior and my God! Psalm 42:11
The Messiah IS here and He is coming into your life, shining in the dark places.
Where do you need His light to dawn? Where do you want hope to arise?
And so, Lord, where do I put my hope? My only hope is in you. Psalm 39:7
Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him. Psalm 62:5
You are my refuge and my shield; your word is my source of hope. Psalm 119:114
I am counting on the Lord; yes, I am counting on him. I have put my hope in his word. Psalm 130:5
Prayer: Father God, Thank you for the sure hope we have in Jesus. This advent season. Help me to anchor my soul in your word, and wait quietly for you. Shine your light in my life. I need you and I believe in you! Meet me here.
Want more? Reread the verses and ask the Holy Spirit to highlight one for you. Read it out loud. Write it here.
Consider how you could remind yourself of that verse today and this week - maybe make a screensaver out of it, or write it out and put it on your fridge, mirror, bulletin board, or all three. Get creative and make it something you hold in your heart this season.
Connect: For each week this season our Worship Team has made a playlist for the focus of the week. Here’s The Good News of Christmas - Hope playlist.
HOPE: DAY 2
Hope is Light
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” so starts the novel “A Tale of Two Cities.” Maybe our times are kind of like that too.
In our lifetimes has there ever been so much _______, so much division, so much anger, so much fear, so much independence, so much isolation…
So much darkness...
Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.” John 8:12
Have you ever noticed how light has the power to push away any darkness in its presence?
Jesus is like that. He pushes away darkness when His presence shines.
It’s easy to feel dimmed by so much around us, but the Light is right there!
The people who walk in darkness will see a great light. For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine. Isaiah 9:2
Personally, I can lean toward seeing the darkness around me. It can feel like the worst of times, but at the same time, it is the best of times when I simply look at The Light!
What are some distractions in your life that feel dark right now?
How can you look to Jesus, the Light, in those areas? When you see Christmas lights this season, breathe in hope, look to Jesus, and remind yourself that He is the Light in every situation.
When you feel pulled toward the darkness, light a candle and see the Light of the world!
He is the Answer! He is coming and He is here!
Prayer: Father God, there is just so much _________ going on around me and even in me, but today I choose HOPE. Thank you for sending Jesus to be the Light of the world. We need that right now and You are there for us! I embrace hope. When I see the lights this season, let it be a reminder of the wonder of Christmas and how you bring light to the world!
Connect: Post a picture of a Christmas light with a verse of Jesus being the Light!
*Join us in the Worship Center 167 Facebook Group - it’s a great place to share and participate in our faith community digitally.
Want more? Matthew 2:1-3 tells the story of the Wise Men who followed the star to find Jesus. How is God leading you to follow the star today?
- Do you need to embrace moments of hope in your day by taking a pause whenever you see a light?
- Do you need to redirect your dark thoughts to a “light verse” whenever they try to pull your attention?
- Or is it something else He is prompting you to do?
Enjoy the Hope! Walk in the Light!
I have come as a light to shine in this dark world, so that all who put their trust in me will no longer remain in the dark. John 12:46
HOPE: DAY 3
Hope in the midst of hurry
Hope is a breath away!
Oh, Christmas! We love you. You are full of wonder and joy, but for most of us, there is just so much to do!
The gift list needs to be filled with truly thoughtful choices, and that’s before the shopping even starts.
Prep for the perfect gatherings doesn’t just happen! There’s also decorating, baking, and the parties…
And just like that, we lose sight of the core reason for it all – the hope of heaven. The celebration of the promise fulfilled.
Hurry can rob us of hope, but it doesn’t have to.
Take a moment and close your eyes. What are you hoping for?
Matthew 12:21 says, “And his name will be the hope of all the world.”
Jesus came to give us hope. Where do you need hope today? Do you know God wants to meet you there?
I used to wonder if it was okay to hope for certain things – for people’s salvation, for healing, for restoration of relationships. Then I realized that only God would put beautiful desires like that in my heart.
1 Corinthians 13:7 says, “Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.”
This season is an opportunity not just to celebrate Christmas but to breathe it in. Stop right now and breathe in some hope.
God’s waiting for you there in the quiet place.
Take a moment and listen to this song. The Light of the World
Prayer: Father, I want to take this moment and this day to thank you for hope. You made a way for us to be connected with you no matter what. You are Immanuel. In the midst of our hurry, help us to stop and breathe in hope many times a day.
Write your hopes out here:
Want more? Read Romans 12:2 and Romans 15:3. What does God want you to know about hope?
HOPE: DAY 4
Hope in the midst of worry
Pastor Matt often reminds us of what Jesus said about our world.
I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. John 16:33
In this life there will always be stuff. Here’s a quick list of stuff it is easy to worry about: family issues, finances, world news, health situations, politics, social justice, relationships and more. Are there any you would add to the list? Write out a couple that are most distracting to you.
Personally, I have a hard time with overthinking things. I wonder if I am supposed to be doing something more or different. I wonder if I am praying enough or praying in the right way. I’m concerned about things that seem to be taking too long to change… I get sucked into some sort of vortex that feels like, "if I really care about something I will worry about it!"
Here’s the thing. It may feel right to worry. For me, I would even say that worrying feels like the responsible thing to do! But in reality, worry doesn’t help anything at all!
In Matthew 6:25-34, Jesus shares His thoughts about worry. Take a moment and read it now.
So, what should we do?
Hope is the antidote to worry!
Hope is friends with trust and peace and is an offer from our Emmanuel. Emmanuel simply means - God with us! God wants to indwell us with hope today.
Where in your life do you want to embrace hope over worry?
Prayer: Holy Spirit, I invite you to interrupt me when I start to worry. Help me to redirect my thoughts to you, to hope, to the abundant life that is in me. I love you and I am so grateful for the life you give!
Want more? Check out The Pause App. This could be a great way to refresh your hope. (I’ve been doing it for about a month now and it has been a game changer for me - there are 1 minute options and so much more!)
HOPE: DAY 5
Hope is in you - Hope in the waiting
Check out this Bible Project video on Hope. (6 min)
Imagine the long wait before the Messiah came. And yet He came!
What might have you been feeling if you were alive during that wait? Forgotten, confused, apathetic, angry, something else?
Underline the negative emotions above that you have when you are waiting. Any more words to add?
Now let’s shift that around. What are the positive emotions we feel when hope is fulfilled? Celebration, pride, accomplishment, joy, something else?
Underline the positive emotions you have when hope is fulfilled. Any more words to add?
Hebrews 11:1 says, Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see.
The seeds of hope are in all of us as believers. They grow as we nourish them with God’s word.
Because of that experience, we have even greater confidence in the message proclaimed by the prophets. You must pay close attention to what they wrote, for their words are like a lamp shining in a dark place—until the Day dawns, and Christ the Morning Star shines in your hearts. 2 Peter 2:19
I leak sometimes. I know hope is available and I feel it sometimes, but then it leaks out somehow. That’s when I know I need to bask in the light a little and I take a walk, read a verse, or spend a minute or two in the Pause App.
Hope is in you. Let it rise. Let it shine like the dawn.
He will make your innocence radiate like the dawn, and the justice of your cause will shine like the noonday sun. Psalm 37:6
I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13
Prayer: That’s our prayer today. Read it again and pray it over yourself, our church, and our world!
What do you want to trust in Him today?
When we choose to trust - our hope is fueled. Our prayers shift from sharing our pain, to receiving and shining the Light we have within us, to those around us.
This Advent season let’s bond together to embrace the Light and let it shine for us, in us, and through us.
1 Peter 3:15 says, “Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it.”
Who do you want to ask you about your hope?
What would it look like for you to ask them if they would like to hear about the hope you have?
This is The Good News Of Christmas! He is the Hope for the world!
Listen to this original song by Worship Center Music, The Reason for our Hope, and let God minister to your heart.
Connect: Share the song in your social media and some thoughts on how Jesus brings you hope personally.
Want more? Did you know that the Bible has an overarching story woven throughout the Old Testament and the New Testament? From Genesis to Revelation, God’s word shows his desire to dwell with us. If you would like to learn more about this, save your seat for our next Dwell class!