Advent Devotional: A Season of Hope

Our Deeply Rooted Advent Hope

“I hope the weather is good today.”
“I hope to eat delicious food.”
“I hope I like my Christmas gifts.”
“I hope I can take a vacation soon.”

Do these thoughts sound familiar? Maybe even too familiar?

Sometimes we pray fervently for the Lord to answer our prayers, only to feel like He is not listening or has forgotten us. Sometimes we work and serve tirelessly, only to find we did not receive a promotion or credit. Sometimes we find ourselves wishing so many things, only to find that they left us feeling hurt or disappointed.

So, where is God in the midst of our hopelessness?

David’s Story of Hope

Let’s read about David, who learned what it looked like to cling to the promises of God and praise Him during seasons of hopelessness. 📖

Read Psalms 59:16-17 (NIV): “But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble. You are my strength, I sing praise to you; you, God, are my fortress, my God on whom I can rely.” 

Let’s do a quick dive into what was going on in the life of David.

— King Saul was the first king over Israel, but he chose to do his own will rather than follow God’s command and guidance. This did not please God, so God chose David to be the next king over Israel. Between the time that David was anointed king and was crowned king, he waited for almost 22 years. Things for David were not simple or easy in his season of waiting. (1 Samuel 16-27)

— Soon after being anointed as king, Israel went into battle with the Philistines and they came against a gladiator. With faith in God and a slingshot, David proved victorious over Goliath, and got lots of attention from the people. This caused Saul’s jealousy to grow, and he made a plan to pursue and kill David. (1 Samuel 17)

— For more than a decade, David spent his life fleeing from Saul. This is the context from which David writes most of the Psalms, including Psalm 59. Now understanding the context of Psalm 59, we can all agree that is it a beautiful proclamation from David that God is his refuge and strength!

Think about David’s circumstances: he is anointed king, waits for over 2 decades to be crowned king, is relentlessly pursued by his enemy, and yet, David still faithfully follows the Lord’s commands. It would have been easy for David to lose faith, yet he modeled for us what it looks like to have hope in God regardless of his circumstances. David wasn’t perfect by any means, but he was a humble leader who the Lord used powerfully. Even faithful and obedient people can have moments in their life when things feel hopeless – this is a battle we have to fight, confidently believing that God is for us, not against us and will keep His promises.

Time and time again in the Old Testament, God promised that a Messiah would come from David’s lineage, the royal line. (2 Samuel 7:12-16)  Spoiler alert, the Promised King came! Jesus being fully man and fully God came to earth, lived a perfect life, died on the cross for our sins and then rose victoriously three days later so that we could have a relationship with God!

Our Great Hope

In this advent season, we hold these two realities: we get to look back in remembrance of the first arrival of our King Jesus, but we also look forward with great anticipation at the second arrival of our King Jesus. Jesus and His Kingdom will reign for eternity – this is our great hope!!

Let’s ask this question again, where is God in the midst of our hopelessness?

God is still moving and working profoundly among His Church. God is always active and always present, even when we cannot see Him or possibly understand. In this season, may our hope in God be deeply rooted in our hearts. May we not lose hope in God, but instead, cling to Him and His promises for us!

Questions for Reflection:

  1. When you are in seasons of discouragement, fear and hurt, what is your natural response? Do you walk away from seeking the Lord or do you seek the Lord?
  2. List, at least, three of God’s promises to his people. What are practical ways to remember God’s promises for you today?
  3. What does it look like to have God as king over your life? How has He protected and provided for you?
  4. What is one thing you are fervently praying for this season? What is the posture of your heart in this prayer?

Advent at Home Activity: Hope

Blindfolded Steppingstones

Use this activity to help your kids understand the meaning of hope, and how they can trust God to guide them, even when their situation feels hopeless.

Using pieces of cardboard, paper, or whatever you can find, create a “steppingstone” path from one side of a room to the other. You can even include small challenges along the way: maybe a chair to climb over or “balance beams” made of masking tape. As your kids go through the path, talk about the obstacles we face in life: making new friends, getting sick, losing a family member.

Now at some point, place a blindfold over your kids eyes. Here you can explain that often we can’t see our way through the obstacles in our lives alone. But that we can “hope” to find our way through, but our chances are slim on our own.

Then, take your kid’s hand and guide him along the path. Explain that we can have hope through the challenges of life because we know that God is with us. Even if we sometimes may feel like we’re in the dark, our hope comes from knowing that God directs our steps. 

Written by: Mayra Leyva