A Note from Kelly King: I’m excited Kaye Hurta will be leading this Advent series that is not only for women who might be hurting, but it is something we should all prepare our hearts toward during this Christmas season. Today we examine hope—the everlasting hope found only in Christ.
What are the two sides of the same coin? Before I answer…
We are entering a season on the church calendar called Advent. Advent is simply this, “An arrival that has been awaited, especially of something momentous.” Advent is celebrated in the church during the four Sundays preceding Christmas. Traditionally there is a wreath that holds five candles. One is lit each of the four Sundays, and the fifth is lit on Christmas Day.
The first candle represents hope, as proclaimed through the prophets.
The second, love, is demonstrated in the manger when Love (Jesus) was birthed.
The third candle represents joy as announced through the shepherds.
The fourth represents peace as heralded through the angels.
The final candle is the Christ candle which represents Him as the light of the world.
In church history lingo, the first Advent of Christ is His coming to earth as a baby. The second Advent of Christ is His coming again. I imagine myself standing somewhere on that timeline looking back at the one, looking forward to the other and still a certain tension remains a constant for me. The tension is that a busy town and a crowded inn wasn’t just a problem for Joseph and Mary. It is our struggle today as we still battle all that crowds out His presence in our hurried hearts. I’m convicted by that sentence. With what is my heart so hurried that it crowds out His presence? What is it for you?
I can hear you asking, “What does this have to do with hurting women, and what are the two sides of the same coin?” I’m glad you asked.
The two sides of the same coin are wounding and wonder or pain and promise, if you prefer. In this life, we all hold both of these in one hand, they are two sides of the same coin. We hold this tension year round, but it is far more pronounced during the holidays—especially Christmas!
For the next four weeks I want us to glance at the four themes of advent and then flip the coin over and see it through the lens of someone in pain. It is my prayer that it will help you lead and minister to those who are hurting through the holidays.
Go ahead a light a candle (literally or figuratively) to represent hope.
What is hope? It is far more than wishes or dreams. It is what gets you up in the morning and allows you to sleep at night. It is what we stand on when our world is caving in and it seems as if our lives are falling apart. It is the tenderness of a tear and the strength of steel. Without hope it is difficult to breathe or stand or move.
Hope is first a verb. That’s great because I need it to act and take action in my life. On what or whom do you place your hope? If your hope is tethered to the stock market, your career, or the stuff in your hope chest, it will fail you. Lasting hope is only found in being tethered to the One who loves you most and the source of all hope–Jesus. He will hold you, help you, rescue you, deliver you, and delight you. He will never let you go or let you down. He sees you, hears you, knows you, loves you—no matter what path you are on. On the spiritual journey of your heart, only God can bring true hope.
For people who are hurting and in pain, hope is hard to see. It seems to be “stolen.” Wounding, pain, and brokenness are all familiar “hope stealers.”
One of the best ways to shine the light of hope on the darkness of pain is to offer your presence. The hope that is in you will shine into their dark places. Be present with someone in pain; engage in their story. Give them time and space to tell you what is on their heart without judgement. You don’t have to be a trained counselor to be a helpful listener!
How is your “hope meter”? Could it be you have been disappointed so many times you have given up hope? Has discouragement, pain, or loss clouded your ability to see hope around you or in you? You see, in the beginning it was beautiful, and then it was broken. And now brokenness becomes the backdrop of our lives. It is against this backdrop of darkness that the light of His hope and deliverance shines brightest.
What pain, trial, or difficulty are you waiting to be “delivered” from?
What past pain has He already recycled for His glory?
Do you know someone who is in pain and struggling to see the hope He offers?
Are you losing hope? Try this:
- Find a friend whose hope is full and hang on!
- Spend time in the Word of God; it will transform your heart and mind and fill you with hope.
- Keep a “Hope Box.” Find Scriptures about hope, write them on note cards, and keep them in a box; read them daily or as needed.
- Pray Scripture. Ask the God of hope to fill you to the full; pour out what’s on your heart—all of it; He can take it.
“Let us hold on to the confession of our hope without wavering, since He who promised is faithful.” —Hebrews 10:23
Kaye Hurta has a Masters Degree in counseling from Liberty University and is a crisis counselor for Women’s Events through LifeWay Christian Resources. Whether speaking, singing, or listening, Kaye’s passion is to help others find intimacy with Christ and soul transformation through the living pages of His Word. Kaye met and married her husband Chris in Austin, Texas in 1987. They have two daughters through the miracle of adoption, Madison and Cami. They live in the Chicago burbs where they are both on staff at Willow Creek Community Church. Kaye is also a contributing author for the LifeWay resource, Women Reaching Women in Crisis.