The air is getting cooler, the leaves are changing, and if you have walked into a store recently you can see that the holidays are just around the corner.  For some, the holidays are like a warm cup of cocoa and a fuzzy blanket; they make us feel all warm inside.  However, for others, the holidays create a searing pain of loss.  They are a blatant reminder that someone is missing from our lives and that we have to face this season with the absence of someone dear to our hearts:  a child, spouse, grandparent, or a friend…whether due to conflict or loss.  When we are facing challenges in life:  divorce, financial struggles, conflict, job loss, illness or loss these can also be heightened during the holidays.  But there is hope.

I will remember them, and my soul is downcast within me.  Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.
Lamentations 3:20-24

What is hope?  That deep longing for something to be different, for change, for relief from the current circumstances, or for our souls to find peace in the midst of our circumstances.  Hope in God’s Word is defined as a strong and confident expectation.  We can be sure with certainty that what God has promised in His Word is true.  What I love about this true hope is that it provides active results…it’s so much more than just passively wishing something would change.  We are reminded in this verse that God is faithful and He is compassionate.

Give yourself permission to sit quietly with Him during this Holiday season.  Avoid the desire to either ignore the holidays altogether or throw yourself into the busyness of the season…instead be intentional and seek time with Him remembering the true reason and meaning behind Christmas.  Hope and joy are possible in the midst of the sorrow…actually, I believe that is when our joy is most pure.  You see we can experience joy when we realize just how much our Heavenly Father loves us so much so that He sent His Son to save us.  When we allow ourselves to rest in His Presence then we begin to understand that the perfect Holidays are not about our perfect expectations: the perfect decorations, songs, presents, cookies, family gatherings etc. but true holiday joy is found in God Himself.

As we enter this season I invite you to join us at Family Church for our Hope for the Holidays service.  This is a place where you can come and be encouraged and worship in the midst of your pain, a place where you are not alone in your hurts and struggles, and a place where you can find practical tips to help you manage the holidays.  We invite you to come whether you yourself are hurting or struggling or if you have loved ones and friends around you who are hurting and you want to learn how to be a support to them.  No matter what you are going through know that God deeply loves you and you are not alone.  In this season you can find Hope in Christ alone.

Please join us on November 16, at 6:30pm in the Sutherlin Campus Event Center.
For more information contact: Shana Murphy

Shana Murphy-Blog