By Becky Ahlberg
For many, especially church leaders, Christmas is more chaos than celebration. Besides the extra programs and parties, family responsibilities and expectations also expand. These short meditations (starting today and continuing with a new, early morning post each day through January 1) are designed with leaders in mind. Take a few minutes each day to ponder these thoughts designed to help you find the wonder of the incarnation in the midst of your responsibilities.
Advent is simply a time to prepare for the celebration of Christ’s birth. In liturgical settings, Advent begins four Sundays before Christmas and centers around these four concepts: hope, peace, joy, and love. For our purposes, we will focus on those four words, but start on the first Sunday of December and finish on New Year’s Day.
May your holidays be blessed as you celebrate God’s gift to you while you give of yourself to others.
Sunday, December 6
Anticipation is so energizing. It stirs the senses and builds excitement. Ask any mother-to-be, engaged couple, or high school graduate heading to college, and they will tell you the months and weeks leading up to their big event are some of the most hopeful days of life. They are looking forward.
Isaiah wrote of the coming Messiah centuries before he came, and his words brought hope to the people of God. They waited expectantly for the Messiah to come. Even in the worst of times, the hope of his coming gave them strength to go on and the will to endure hard times. God’s people were facing exile, persecution, and separation from loved ones and home. Hope was at the heart of their ability to cope.
That hope can be yours today. Hope that has changed lives. Hope that keeps you looking forward.
What challenges and struggles are you facing right now? Do you need some energized coping skills? Stop right now and ask God to renew your hope, remind you that you’re not alone, and bring to mind what you need to keep you looking forward.
Becky Ahlberg serves as executive director of My Safe Harbor in Anaheim, California.