Has it ever seemed like you were hoping for something that would never happen? How did you keep your hope alive when all seemed lost? Did what you were hoping for come true? Share your story with your family.
My Story and the Bible Story
I saw the Star Wars movies much later than many others. I was in my early twenties before I watched any of them, but when I did, I found a familiar story: of hope. For so long the darkness had ruled, but a small band of rebels thought the light could defeat the darkness. They worked and they dreamed, hoping that one day the light would win, that the light side of the Force would be strong enough to defeat the dark side. If you’ve ever seen the Star Wars films, you know what happens. It seems as if the dark side will win. At one point, hope is nearly lost. But just when it seems as if the dark side will be triumphant, something surprising happens: the one representing the dark side starts to change. He starts to remember the hope he once had, and the rebels win! Hope and light defeat the dark side. This is a familiar story this Advent season, not only because we see it over and over in the movies but also because it is lived out in the Bible.
Read Isaiah 64:1-9.
The people were crying out to God for salvation. They desperately needed to hear from God. They had chosen to do the wrong thing for so long that it seemed as if God had abandoned them. The prophet Isaiah asks, “Is there any hope for us? Can we be saved?” Even though it seems as if God abandoned them, they remember that God is still their Father. God is still the One who made them. In spite of what seems like a hopeless situation, they are able to maintain hope that God will remember them and save them.
Today begins the Advent season, a time of waiting for the Savior. It is a time when we remember that for thousands of years, the people hoped and prayed and worked for the Messiah’s coming. There were times when they were filled with hope and times when they were filled with despair. But through it all, they had hope that God would come through. Maybe you and your family need to remember hope today. As we light the candle of Hope, we remember the hope that God brings into our world. There are times when it seems as if the darkness will win. There are times when hope is dim and it seems as if God has abandoned us, but we know that God did not abandon the Israelites. Instead, at just the right time, God sent the Messiah. There may be times when we hope for things that never happen, but we can always hope in the Lord and know that God will come through for us. God promises to never abandon us, and God will do the things God has promised. The Lord is our Creator and Savior who will hear our cry. So take heart and have hope, for the Lord who created the universe is still working. God is still our potter, and we are still the clay. We are God’s people, and God will never leave us.
Discussion and Prayer
- Talk to your children about what it means to have hope. Explain the difference between the hope that we will pass a test or get a certain toy for Christmas and the hope we have in God.
- Ask your children to name some things for which they have hoped. Talk about whether or not those things happened.
- Find ways this week to share God’s hope with others.
- Pray, giving thanks that we can always have hope in God. Ask for strength and courage to always believe in that hope.
Rev. Jessica Asbell is the Minister to Children and Families at First Baptist Roswell, where she has been serving since 2012. She has written the children’s curriculum for Smyth & Helwys’s Annual Bible Study for the books of Daniel; Ezekiel; Luke; Jonah; 1 Corinthians; 1, 2, 3 John and Jude; Colossians; The Story of Israel’s Ancestors: Living toward a Promise; and Where Faith & Family Meet: A Book of Weekly Devotions. She has also written for CBF’s Spark and Form and for Affect in CBF’s fellowship! magazine. Married to Jonathan Oravec, Jessica reads every chance she gets.