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This devotion appears in the 2021 Buckner Advent Guide, containing devotions and fun activities to celebrate the Advent season. Get your free digital copy of the Advent Guide and Calendar delivered instantly to your email inbox today.

"So God has given both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary.” – Hebrews 6:18-19 (NLT)

During the first Christmas, people were living in the land where death casts its shadow and where people sat in great darkness (Matthew 4:16). There was deep sorrow, unrelenting restlessness, growing fear and unshakable anxiety. They were people without hope longing for a breakthrough.

Often life throws shadows our way and pulls up the chair of darkness like a well-worn recliner that has become so familiar we lose hope. A son turns his back on family values. An executive loses her life savings in a career setback. A husband’s infidelity exposes looming relational brokenness that seems irreparable. Add rising mental health issues, cultural unrest and racial division all during a pandemic and life simply seems dark.

Let’s get real. Just like that first Christmas, we are a people who need hope. Not wishful thinking, but something – no, someone – who is strong, trustworthy and an anchor for our souls (Hebrews 6:18-19).

That first Christmas, Jesus, the promised Messiah (John 1:14), enters the scene clothed in brilliant light, dispelling darkness as the light that leads to life (John 8:12). Hope had come for all people!

Whatever darkness you face in your life today, in Jesus, you will find hope because he is hope. Wherever darkness exists in your life, invite Jesus into that place with you and declare with trustworthy confidence, “Hope shines here.”

Ken Murphy is the senior director of church engagement for Buckner International. He has served as a church planter, executive pastor, multi-site campus pastor and leadership coach to pastors and ministry leaders.


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