“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13 NRSV)
I can add little more to this wonderful prayer and wish written by Paul so long ago. The context of his writing was inclusive, those who are strong should bear those who are weak, welcome one another, Gentiles and Jews. At this time of the year, it is good to reflect on how we ‘welcome others’, on how we give others hope.
As Christmas is just a few days away, our hearts should now be prepared to welcome the Savior of the world once more into our lives, remembering why and how he came to bring hope to our mortal and sinful world. But that word ‘should’ is there because this year, Christmas may not be the gathering together that it usually is. This year we may need an extra dose of God’s joy and peace to believe and abound in hope. This year we may be missing people desperately, we may be grieving, rather than rejoicing, we may feel robbed of the hope God wants to give us freely.
Last week, some of us shared our hopes for the coming year – some were about togetherness in the future, some were about the uncertainty of illness and the future and some were full of expectancy and new projects. Wherever we are in our lives, let us claim hold of God’s promise and say out loud, ‘the God of hope will fill us with all joy and peace in believing, so that we may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit’.
Prayer of Response:
“Father of all hope, we thank you that in your word lies the answer to all our questions, all our doubts, all our fears. May we this Christmas season know the joy that can only come by the power of your Holy Spirit. May we be able to welcome you and others into our hearts anew and share the joy of the good news brought to us by a newborn baby, who was to become our Savior, Jesus Christ. In the words of a well-known carol, “Holy child, descend to us we pray, cast out our sin and enter in, be born in us today. Oh come to us, abide with us our Lord Emmanuel!”
—Submitted by Lis Ho
Lis is living in Lyon, France, with her teenage son. Currently preparing the Lifesprings School of Ministry with the Lyon team. She is a portrait photographer and teacher of English as a foreign language. In a world of busyness, her ‘rhythm of life’ verse is ‘Be still and know that I am God’, Psalm 46:10.
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Winter forest photo by Adriann Meyer on Unsplash
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