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The Gift of Hope

advent-wreath-candles-flame-christmas-adventNow that all that is left of the turkey is leftovers, and today being Black Friday, the Christmas Season is upon us and with it comes a roller coaster of emotions. Stress levels often hit the roof during the holidays. The holidays present us with a dizzying array of demands – we have too many gifts to buy and wrap, too many parties to host or attend, cookies to bake, a string of tangled up lights that need hung (and just how did they get so tangled?), and let’s be honest, every family has a “Cousin Eddie” who shows up at the holidays. You know, that lovable but not too sharp character from the National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation movie. Maybe you recently lost a loved one to death and the thought of this holiday without them weighs heavy on your heart. Or it could be that you’ve been unemployed for a long time, the bank account is drained, and you are not sure how you can afford to buy gifts. Your church has many activities during the holidays and you want to participate, but there just doesn’t seem to be enough nights to get everything in. Your kid’s school has three holiday concerts, and they are all different nights. Maybe you will be alone this Christmas, with nobody to share the holiday joy with. Does any of this resonate with you?

It seems like our burdens are on steroids during the holidays, everything just gets so crazy. Today we want to share the good news that we have a place to take our burdens. The word “Advent” literally means “the coming.” It is in this season of Christmas that Jesus was born; and it is about Jesus coming to you, meeting you right where you are. Yes, He meets you even in the midst of your messes and stresses.

So today, we want to share one verse to encourage you. In Psalm 55:22 we read these words, “Cast your cares upon the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.”

Jesus can turn chaos into calm, dark into light, and anxiety into peace. Jesus can heal the wounds of your heart. Whatever it is that is causing you the proverbial “holiday stress,” today we encourage you to give it all to Jesus. Pray and ask Jesus to give you His Love and ask Him to take away the stress that keeps you up at night.

Advent is about Jesus “coming” to find you to bring you the gift of a hope filled present and future. Jesus is speaking these next words to you right now, “Come to me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest (Mt 11:28).” Run, don’t walk, to Jesus right now… He is waiting for you!

Dave Garrett

New Bern, North Carolina

11/25/2016

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