Sometimes our understanding of hope changes. Life intrudes in ways that threaten us and cause us to doubt; we are left disoriented and confused. We can't help but wonder what hope means any more.
Be still. Be very still. There is a light still on the horizon, beckoning you to trust again. Like a gentle snow upon a meadow, your fear is blanketed in peace and a star is reflected from above. It is the star that leads to hope again.
When you are ready, click on “The Word of God” below for today's scripture and then continue to follow the remaining steps of the devotion.next >
"A voice was heard in Ramah, wailing and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be consoled, because they are no more."
Matthew 2:18next >
We are weeks from this part of the story. Jesus is born, wise men come and then, warned in a dream of King Herod's intentions, they go home by another way. An angry Herod makes sure no one takes his kingdom, and kills all the two-year-olds from Bethlehem. It is called "the slaughter of the innocents."
We are shocked at what happened yesterday. Innocents slaughtered. Tomorrow we are to light the pink candle – the Joy candle. Really? Peace. Hope. Joy. Love. These words seem so distant, like a memory of when we were little.
It is the Lord who speaks in today's text – Rachel’s voice is heard. When we lament, God listens and acts toward us in perfect love. And God hears the cries of children everywhere – Somalia, Syria, Afghanistan. Just after today's story in Matthew 2, John the Baptist appears and Jesus' ministry begins – the hope bringer. These huge words of Advent don’t always happen for us; sometimes they happen through us. We carry hope to someone who needs it. Who can you bring hope to today?
David Burroughsnext >
God of hope, I feel hopeless today. There is so much grief – all over the globe. Where are you God; will you forget me forever? But I trust in your unfailing love. I pull myself up tall and remember your deep love for us, for me, for those in pain and sorrow today. Give me the strength to act on your behalf as a hope bringer. In the gentle name of Jesus, Amen.next >
Look for hope today.
For hope, in spite of any and all circumstances, remains.
In the face of discouragement, setbacks,
And even unspeakable violence,
Watch for hope. Insist on hope,
Because in the midst of every uncertainty,
We can trust in hope's Source.
David Burroughs is the president of Passport, Inc., which produces d365.org. He was on the design team for the first Following the Star in 2001, offered as a devotional response for teenagers living in the realities of 9/11. He lives in Birmingham, Alabama with his wife and his teenage children.
Still Still Still