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DEC. 24 | Hope of Redemption

In 1855, pastor John Sullivan Dwight translated a popular French Christmas carol called “Cantique de Noël.” Over 150 years later, “Oh Holy Night” continues to be one of the most beloved English carols. This hymn powerfully combines rich, deep theology with a complex, moving melody that engages both the minds and hearts of its singers. Is it just me who gets emotional when I…

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DEC. 23 | Hope and Christmas Chaos

Israel was bustling under a haughty King Herod. Commerce was flowing; goods were being produced, stored, imported, and exported. Palaces, fortresses, and temples were under construction, and Israel was becoming a moving piece within the Roman wheel of industry and technology. In Luke 2:1-5, we journey with Joseph and Mary to the central moment of the Advent story at Bethlehem, anxious for what God…

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DEC. 22 | Hope and Racial Reconciliation

James Mbugua is a tall, dark man, hailing from one of Kenya’s 42 tribes, the Kikuyu. The Kikuyu rose to power after Kenyan independence in the 1960s, receiving desirable jobs and prized land throughout the country, including the fertile Rift Valley. Animosity toward them lingered, however, due to jealousy from other groups, especially the Kalenjin, who believed the prized Rift Valley land belonged to…

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DEC. 21 | Hope Amidst Broken Relationships

As a therapist and substance use disorder specialist, I see firsthand the damage and pain of broken relationships in marriages, families, society, nature, and ourselves. For each person suffering through a broken relationship, holidays are at best bittersweet and bring out the hurt and loneliness we normally pack away in the bottom of our travel bag of life. Anger, anxiety, disgust, guilt, and loathing…

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DEC. 20 | Hope and Joy

“But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people’” (Luke 2:10). If you’ve ever watched an episode of the sci-fi show “Doctor Who,” you know that the Tardis is his magical spaceship, allowing him to travel through space and time. You also know that on the outside, the Tardis…

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DEC. 19 | Beyond Busyness to Hope

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30). The holidays, for most of us, can be pretty busy times.…

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DEC. 18 | Hope and Loneliness

Luke includes an interesting little detail in describing the life and ministry of Jesus. “Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed” (Luke 5:16). It is in the barren and lonely places of our lives where God often shows up. That first Christmas, God showed up and delivered the greatest gift to humankind through a manger, a dark lonely cave full of animal aromas…

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DEC. 17 | Hope During Financial Stress

Christmas can be a time of financial stress for many in the United States. We want to buy gifts for our families and make the holidays special. According to one report, 65 percent of people went over budget on Christmas and 20 percent went into debt to create the Christmas they dreamed of. Even if we are careful, most Americans have little savings and…

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DEC. 16 | Unquenchable Hope

If something is unquenchable, it cannot be doused, smothered, or put out. It’s impossible to suppress or destroy! Unquenchable hope then, is the ability to withstand the hardest times of life knowing a faithful God is for us! Imagine that you are desperate to satisfy your thirst but could not drink enough water to accomplish that desire. Imagine a fire that blazes so hot…

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DEC. 15 | Hope and Aging

Lots of people love to go camping. Just mention the word and you can start them daydreaming about the great outdoors and getting back into it. While backpackers often sleep under the stars, indispensable to a traditional camping trip is a tent; that tried and true synthetic-fabric home away from home. A tent is a shelter with a time limit. It’s where we stay…

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