Only Jesus Remains– 39.Christmas Hope

by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro copyright 2020

Oct 22 to Jan 6 reflections from an upcoming book for tending hurting hearts at Christmas

That sinking sense of how vulnerable my heart can be to the ugly press of hopelessness and discouragement, especially when I am tired. Especially at this time of year. What is the root? Certainly, my expectations must play a role, for if I had none, then I would not be hoping in a certain direction. That hope could not become hopeless. Yet, hopelessness also occurs in the void of hope. In other words, if I have no expectations, then I sit stationary in no hope. This is also hopelessness. 

The answer lies in You, Jesus. With greater understanding comes deeper heart-conversion and thought-freedom. You are the hope for the world in that You are the Light. You illuminate life trajectory which is true and works. By this is not initially meant exterior actions—like some list of to-do’s and not-to-do’s, but a lifestyle which keeps You in constant view. Where there is a different way of thinking because I am gazing at and are getting to know You more.  The unavoidable outcome of this is re-orientation of my way of thinking. Not just about You, but about all things.

Thus, the antidote which keeps me from being disappointed, sucked into a hole of discouragement, or desperately clinging to a self-made fragile sense of false peace, is this right hope, which is progressively revealed to my heart as I look at You. Then by making You my singular focus, You etch this hope onto my soul in a manner so that I can hold onto it. Right hope is the anchor which keeps the relentless waves of this life from sweeping me away. My thinking and life built on You, the Rock and not sand.

What do I see when I focus on You and Your story at Christmas? So quickly the emphasis on great gatherings, abundant rich foods, sparkling decorations, perfect packages or momentary festive good cheer fall away. No need to emphasize holly-jolly or sleigh bells ringing. These do not celebrate the coming of God to us.

It no longer matters what has been spent or not spent. Whether gifts came on time or did not. If items were beautifully wrapped or in paper bags. Whether a meal was burnt or turned out well. It is of no account whether there were pretty invitations or even if no one came. These were my previous distractions, now seen as infinitely less.

Christmas is about You who are the Light from eternal heaven who came into the world and ignited hope that the time of exile was now at an end. Exile. Forced captivity to lesser oppressive musts, away from my true home and way of life. You had seen me in my plight and now You personally would meet the requirements to unlock the evil one’s hold and I would be free. You, the true Light illuminating the God-way to be. Free to follow You and live out my true destiny with You leading now through forever. Awe! Your promise of provision along the way. There would be battles, too. Expect these. But You will lead me through and bring Your ongoing, never-ending victory. The victory which lasts. Not just for one but for many.

The lies which bound up my mind with false priorities, obsessions and understanding of life and living are now incrementally, progressively busted. Through You, Jesus and the Truth You are. The true picture You give of God, the Way and of Love. This is Your way of living now through forever. Selah! Be still my heart and pause.

34 Who is there to condemn [us]? Will Christ Jesus (the Messiah), Who died, or rather Who was raised from the dead, Who is at the right hand of God actually pleading as He intercedes for us?

35 Who shall ever separate us from Christ’s love? Shall suffering and affliction and tribulation? Or calamity and distress? Or persecution or hunger or destitution or peril or sword.

37 Yet amid all these things we are more than conquerors and gain a surpassing victory through Him Who loved us.

38 For I am persuaded beyond doubt (am sure) that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities, nor things impending and threatening nor things to come, nor powers,

39 Nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:34-35, 37-39

SONG Recommended: YOU CAME TO SET US FREEChristmas Worship album

ONLY JESUS REMAINS PODCASTS

CHRISTMAS HOPE PODCAST

If you are just joining in these reflections, read the Introduction here to learn what these are all about.

for mini-devotions subscribe or connect on Facebook at Spiritual Armor and Ammo .

Author: Elizabeth Fulgaro

I am a God-seeker--a Jesus-worshipper--a Holy Spirit follower. I create songs, devotions, prayers, books and Bible studies to give words with which to get to know God more. For you. Its for one-on-One encounter unto transformed, transcendent living. This is not my vocation. I am not professional. I am a real, ordinary person just looking to do what God put me here to do. (You have a unique purpose too.) So I am called to the work. It is not my income source, but my gift to those who find it blessing. Eagles Nest Foundation sponsors all projects for you. The result: pure, clean spiritual nutrition to feed that deep insatiable spiritual hunger which eventually overtakes each of us and galvanizes you to the life God has for you. This life is purposeful. Exceptional. You--yes, you--are called to something greater and more satisfying in His service. So it is hoped you'll try this spiritually dense nutrition and find it to be a personal blessing. However, the goodness of God-following doesn't stop there. He uses those who seek Him to be His love and care (justice, mercy, advocate, kindness) very tangibly in the lives of those around you. Not by your power but by His. His ideas. God ideas. Not just good ideas. To be part of changing the world, if you will let Him. You learn to just follow where He leads. That if you listen, He will teach you to hear His voice and then when you obey His inner promptings you will become His incredible hands and feet in this hard world. These materials will help! They will help you aim your life towards God in a way you never look back. You will not be the same. He will become the River in your desert spaces and you will become a conduit of this same River of refreshing, replenishing Water of Life to others. Find a prayer. Pick a blog post. Read a book. Be led deeper into the Bible. Select a song which resonates and use it and use it again to go close and ever closer to the God who longs to draw you near. Oh, and don't be tempted to think I'm a crazy over-spiritualized loony...My background is financial planning and counseling. Almost 40 years of it. To choose to believe in God is not to leave practicality and reason behind, but to learn that there is that which goes beyond it and includes it, unto true life fulfillment beyond all your dreams for the one who keeps seeking Him. I am a third generation Californian. I am a person to whom family means everything. The only priority higher is God. The foothills of the Sierra Nevada are my home. It is here the 1849-1856 Gold Rush is still glorified. Easy money? Actually only for the few. Even though I was raised in the Church, it took me ten years of doubting God even existed to realize that without Him, no matter how much of this life's "stuff" is accumulated, I actually have nothing. To come to know that all those who chased after gold are dead and all those who still chase stuff will be dead. That's when I became a God-seeker. Looking for that more. And Eureka! (This is California's state slogan and means I found it.) I found God...or rather, I discovered He was there and had been there waiting for me to look for Him the whole time. May you discover more of Him for you, greater flourishing life and greater flourishing for all in the world as well. God bless you! ~Elizabeth

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