We are now in the Advent season, a time when we normally would gather together with family and friends, but a global pandemic is altering many of those plans.?However, there is a hope that outshines the darkness.?We?ve asked several of our amazing Hope Walks staff to share with you a special Advent message that reflects on ?Our Hope in the Coming Savior.??
Please enjoy these words below from their hearts today and over the next three Sundays in Advent. All of us at Hope Walks in the U.S., Latin America and Africa wish you a joyous Christmas, and thank you for your continued support of our ministry to heal kids and share the love of Christ.?
November 29 – First Sunday in Advent
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.?
As humans, we are created to like good things by nature. Eternal life is the fondest wish of every Christian.? The verse shows us with a great example, the importance and reason of having hope in God and this is what we dream to obtain.
We know what we want (eternal life), and this verse tells us how to get there (belief). Now we have to ask God, through prayer, for strength during this period of waiting here on earth. During this special season, we anticipate the birth of the King of kings, Jesus Christ.
Hope in God, hope in Christ, is a bridge to eternal life.?
Bernard Uzabakiriho is the Hope Walks program manager for the Democratic Republic of the Congo?
December 6 – Second Sunday in Advent
And Mary said to the angel, ?How will this be, since I am a virgin?? And the angel answered her, ?The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy?the Son of God.??
The entire book of Matthew is focused on Jesus Christ as the Messiah, the Anointed One of the Living God, the so-called Immanuel to come according to Isaiah 7:14. Seven hundred years before the birth of Jesus, the prophet Isaiah announced that the virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.
By asking the question ?how will this be?,? Mary expresses her astonishment, but not doubt. How could she carry a child in her womb when she had not had intimate relations with a man? It is a miracle of the Holy Spirit; it was going to come upon her, and the power of God will overshadow her. Mary was astonished and questioned how this would be possible. So much seems impossible to human sight, but God answers, ?The Holy Spirit.?
That is why the holy child who will be born to you will be called the Son of God. We have in these words a fantastic affirmation of the Incarnation. The Son of Mary will be God manifested in the flesh. No human explanation can unravel the mystery behind these words.
So the Messiah King was born. The Eternal broke into time. The Almighty was embodied in a very small child. The Lord of Glory had veiled his brilliance in a human body. For in Christ all the fullness of the head over Deity lives in bodily form.
Moutari Malam Saddi is a regional manager in Africa living in Niger.
December 13 – Third Sunday in Advent
Why, my soul, are you downcast?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God.
Psalm 42:11 NIV
In Psalm 42, for the psalmist, memories that produce pain come to mind. Along with the painful and sad memories, there also are those of the joyous times they had when they went to worship in the house of God.
There were many reasons for the psalmist to feel sad and distressed, and like him, during this year we have also faced distress. However, in the midst of that feeling of discouragement and abandonment, he recognizes that he is not alone and raises a song to the Lord (v. 8) And that is why, although 2020 has been difficult in the face of a global pandemic, and for us in Honduras, several devastating hurricanes, or having a child born with a physical deformity, we can respond like the psalmist…
Why am I going to worry?
In God, I will put my hope,?that hope that is born in Jesus. In Hebrew there is a word that also means hope,?Tikvah. While hope in Spanish/English is something we want to happen, it will not necessarily happen. It is a wish.?Tikvah?implies not only wanting but obtaining what I want. This word refers to a ?cord? or ?rope? and comes from the Hebrew root?kavah, which means to unite, to collect, or to expect something attached with a rope. Our hope in the Lord goes beyond just waiting, but it allows us to have the conviction that there is hope in the person of Christ, a hope with purpose and that allows us to conclude also like the psalmist
…and I will still praise you
He is my Savior and God!
So it is in the midst of the uncertainty that we live, we have the certainty that God is in control. That is why today in Advent time we remember that there is hope (Tikvah) and that hope is born in Jesus.?
Gabriela Osorio is Hope Walks program manager for Honduras.
December 20 – Fourth Sunday in Advent
In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.
The image of light is a central theme in God’s Word. From the very beginning of the Bible in Genesis 1:3, God speaks light into being, replacing the darkness in the formless void that existed previously. With the coming of Christmas, we are reminded of the light that also came into the world in the form of Jesus Christ. This light has special meaning because it offers us life eternal. “In him was life…” Looking at it another way, without him, there is no life. Now that?s a sobering thought.?
Here in the Northern Hemisphere, the hours of daylight grow shorter as Christmas Day approaches. Yet, this time of year seems especially bright as we reflect on the gift of Jesus and the hope we all have through him.
As part of my job, I read many stories about the families we serve. Most of these families have difficult lives filled with darkness. One thing that seems to shine through each story is hope, even if it is just a faint glimmer. Yes, it may be the physical transformation of their child’s feet that provides that hope in an earthly sense, but it really is the “light of all mankind” – our Savior – who provides a hope that can never be taken away.
Steve Robinson serves as the marketing and communication specialist for Hope Walks.