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The Celebration of Advent

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
—Romans 15:13

This week is the start of Advent—a time to get ready and prepare our hearts for the celebration of the birth of Christ. Advent reminds us to set aside some of the busyness of the holiday season, and to think about the miracle that every day of this season brings.

This first week of Advent is all about hope…a hope that goes beyond all others. It’s more than just a feeling or wishful thinking. It’s an awareness that God is actually expecting, looking and longing to show you His goodness.

Every day can be filled with hope—the confident expectation that something good is going to happen in our life. God wants us to be full of His hope—believing, expecting, and anticipating great things from Him. In fact, the Bible says He is the “God of hope,” full of mercy and new beginnings.

God is good, and He has a good plan for each of our lives. Because He does, you can live your life with expectation, choosing on purpose to be hopeful every day…all throughout the day. The Psalmist David said in Psalm 71:14, But I will hope continually and will praise you yet more and more.

When we embrace hope on purpose, it can influence our thoughts, our attitudes, and even our outlook on life. It releases joy, and the “joy of the Lord” becomes our source of strength (see Nehemiah 8:10).

Here are just a few ways that you can practice living in “continual hope” this Advent season and beyond…

  • Pray one bold prayer each day
  • Do something fun every day
  • Help at least one person each day
  • Take time every day to think about at least one way God has been good to you

Hope is something that can be developed over time until it just becomes a habit. One of the ways to do this is to remind yourself to be expectant of good things and remember that God is always looking for ways to be good to us (see Isaiah 30:18).

It is so easy to forget how blessed we are! That’s why maintaining an attitude of gratitude is something we need to do on purpose.Joyce Meyer

Hope is so important to God that He sent Jesus to be our Hope! Even before Jesus was ever born, there was great anticipation about His birth. Luke 3:15 (NLT) says, Everyone was expecting the Messiah to come soon…. And we can live each day with that same anticipation.

What are you expecting God to do in your life today?

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Key Scripture

Wait for and confidently expect the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for and confidently expect the Lord. (Psalm 27:14 AMP).

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For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11)

Set aside some time this week to think about your hopes and dreams for the future. Then, grab a journal and write down some of those hopes and dreams. Maybe even post some notes around your house reminding yourself to be expectant of good things. Pray and ask God to continue to give you renewed hope for the great plans He has for you.