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What are You Hoping for this Christmas?

What are you Hoping for this Christmas? Hope Advent - Week One

Psalm 71:14 “But I will hope continually, and will yet praise thee more and more”. During the black Friday frenzy I was remembering the big ToysRUs special advertisement that used to come in the Sunday paper. It fueled the fire of hope in every child during the Christmas season…that special Transformer, the Barbie that would simply complete a collection that perhaps already fills a frilly little bedroom, the long-awaited video game. My grandfather often talked about the Sears and Roebuck catalog being the wishbook when he was younger. His wishes were different…a pair of jeans, a warm hat, tools for a budding craftsman. We all have wishes. Some of them flit through our minds during the Christmas season but others are longings that occupy a corner of our hearts through the year or even many years. If only… We could have a baby I could find a better job My health would improve My marriage could be stronger I could find a true friend...

If only I knew the answers to help my child.... Our hearts harbor hope for each day, for each year. We have hopes that we share with those we love and hopes that reside in a quiet place so deep in our hearts that we rarely speak of them.

When raising a child with special needs, a parent can become almost afraid to hope and the deepest desires of the heart can become what ifs.

What if my child never talks....

What if my child doesn't make a friend....

What if I can't be the parent my child needs...

One of the most comforting thoughts in the world to me is that God is the Creator of hope. The same God who made the earth and skies and oceans and the beautiful child of yours knew that we would need hope... not just hope but something to hope in. God knows and cares about each of your hopes. He was willing to send His Son to give us hope. When we bring our hopes before Him in the way of a prayer, we are acknowledging that He is the One who can bring these things to pass. We are placing our hope in Him. This year I hope you will put aside your "what ifs" and trade them for hope in the One who can change your hopes into realities. This year let’s make this season one of prayer, in which we bring before God the hopes and dreams of our heart and offer Him the opportunity to fulfill them in completely unexpected ways. Family Activity Ornaments of Hope Items needed: 30 plain Christmas ornament balls, any color (Choose plastic for young children, older children may be able to use more fragile ones) and gold or silver sharpies. Talk about the hopes and prayers you have for other people in your lives. Write on each one a hope for your life and that you want to see God touch. Beginning tomorrow, take the time each day to choose one ornament with your family and ask God to help that situation and bring hope where there was none. Include this request in your prayers that night. At the end of the season tuck these ornaments away and next year enjoy taking them out again and see how God may have touched the situations that were nearest to your heart this Christmas season. What are you hoping for today?

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