Hope Is Here Devotional | Day Six

When traditions have been around for a long time, there can often be uncertainty, and even disputes, over how they originated. For example, the beloved Christmas tree. There are many stories of how the tradition began, but no one is quite sure.
One story credits Martin Luther, the towering figure of the Protestant Reformation, with starting the tradition of having a fir tree in his house during the dark winter months. The story goes that Luther brought an evergreen into his home to encourage his wife and children through a cold, dark winter. The evergreen, he said, represented ‘the eternal love of God and the steadfastness of their own faith’. The candles he decorated it with represented the star that led the Magi to Christ.

Hope Is Here Devotional | Day Four

One of my favourite verses in the whole Bible comes from Jesus’ birth narrative in Matthew’s Gospel, words that we hear regularly at Christmas time. The story of Jesus’ birth is admittedly quite strange. Mary was pregnant, yet still a virgin; a baby conceived “from the Holy Spirit” (as Matthew says) rather than naturally; and a disappointed husband-to-be having it all explained to him by an angel in a dream! And another thing that’s strange is that neither Mary nor Joseph are to name the baby. The name comes from the angel: “You shall call His name Jesus.”

Read more: Hope Is Here Devotional | Day Four

Hope Is Here Devotional | Day Three

The cost of living crisis. COVID-19. Global warming. War. Flash flooding. Traffic collisions. Cancer. Shootings.
The world is filled with immense pain and suffering. Every single day our TVs, phones, and colleagues inform us of the next bit of bad news. Nobody can escape it. It’s everywhere.
How could there be any sort of good, or hope, in the midst of all the pain?
Jeremiah, a prophet who we read about in the Bible, knew all about this. Jerusalem had just been destroyed by the Babylonians, and Jeremiah was heartbroken. With the city in ruins, the temple destroyed, and many people displaced or sold into slavery, we see Jeremiah’s immense grief described in the book of Lamentations, as he wept continually and considered all that had been lost (1:16-17).

Read more: Hope Is Here Devotional | Day Three

Hope Is Here Devotional | Day Two

When I was 16 years old, I was involved in a ‘street reach’ event in Moira. My church, along with three other churches in the area, would spend the week serving the community in whatever way we could. One of those ways was by forming a choir that would visit the local care homes to sing for the residents, which was an absolute delight.
One song that was chosen for the choir to sing, and this was the first time I’d ever heard it, was ‘My Troubled Soul’ by Philippa Hanna. It has stuck with me and has frequently ‘popped’ into my head when I really needed its sweet words. It’s a song based on Psalm 42:5; “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.”

Read more: Hope Is Here Devotional | Day Two