It is an incredible privilege to be offered the opportunity to share my thoughts during this Advent Season with my church family.

It causes no small amount of stress also.   Knowing that my words will be read aloud before a congregation.   Many probably do not even know that I am the author, yet any time you release your words into the wind:  there's a chance they might not be well received by those upon whom they fall.

Leaving the safe haven of my little blog home is scary, challenging and ultimately something I must not only face; but embrace.    These little chances to share with others is how the light expands and fills each soul we encounter.    Like the candles we light each Sunday, it's rather how I keep my creative inspiration burning. 

I can't help but feel sometimes, that if I keep my candle burning -- it might inspire you to keep your candle burning.  Which we might inspire another.  And so on.  And so on.

And that my friends is how we push back the darkness of this world.

Isaiah 9:2, 6-7
The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.  For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders.  And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. (The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.)  In his name the nations will put their hope. 

The times we are living in are troubled.  If one is aware of the daily news reports,  it would appear these are the most troubled times humanity has ever faced.   The absolute worst of times.     Regardless of the validity of such a statement, when we collectively act out our daily lives within such a handed down narrative; it becomes Real.   Shaping not only our largely negative view of one another, but of our collective world.   Believing in the absolute worst about ourselves ushers in a sense of doubt and a spirit of fear, driving out any lingering Hope; and this becomes our new normal.   The world heaves a weary sigh and casts the dice against the worst possible outcomes.   Hope dangles on a string measured against probabilities; instead of Faith.  
This world is not a graveyard of buried Hopes!     
The Christian's Hope is not wishful thinking, but a belief that envisions the future with Certainty.   The difference between spiritual hope and secular hope is The Source.   A child is Born.   God promised a solution for the troubles of the world long ago.   That promise, is still a promise for Today.   Hope always looks forward.   It's an ongoing practice of Faith.  We can be encouraged and prepared for the future if we live in the hope that is ours in Jesus Christ. 

Do you believe there is still Hope?