Tag: Christmas

Hope is a Who

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This article originally appeared on the blog for the Be Love Revolution, which you can view here.

Many Decembers ago, in a small dorm room at the University of Michigan, a miracle happened. The God of the Universe broke into my selfish and sinful heart. That night after months of searching, my unnamed longing was revealed to me in the person of Jesus the Messiah, and through my feeble YES, faith—as new as the baby Jesus—was born in my heart.

Now as a disciple of Jesus I’m trying to help others, especially young women, to know, love, and follow Him too. My idea of a great week is Pine Hills Girls Camp, being on mission in the garbage dump in Mexico City, an early Tuesday morning bible study at the local coffee shop, and being with my grandchildren.

Yet despite all the good things and God things in my life, I am prone to discouragement, and at times I struggle with HOPE. After many years of following Jesus, I have faced great joy and great pain, triumphs and disappointments, answered prayers and ones that seem to fall on deaf ears. But during the season of Advent there is a truth that has helped me cling to and grow in hope. Hope is a Who. I know this sounds like a Dr. Seuss book title, but hear me out…

When I was pregnant with each of my children I was filled with such expectant hope because I was preparing to giving birth to a real person, not a theory or a concept, but a real, living person with a name (Sarah, Michael, Joshua, Rachel), a face, an identity, a personality, and a purpose. I couldn’t wait to welcome that little person into our life.

Advent helps me remember that God who really exists—not as an idea, a philosophy, or theory—was born into our world as a human person, with a name (Jesus), an identity, a personality, and a purpose. Hope is a Who. My hope is rooted in the person of Jesus Christ and the certainty of what God has promised in Him. My hope isn’t based on my feelings or circumstances which change constantly, or in material things which break and wear out. My hope in others can bring disappointment, and hope in myself incites self-reliance and often ends in failure.

What fills me with hope is Jesus’ unbreakable promise: “I am with you always.” The name Emmanuel, God-with-us, reminds me that I am never alone, that he came to earth to set up his dwelling within me; that he will never leave me or forsake me. True hope isn’t anchored in my word, on wishful thinking or what I want, but on what the sovereign, loving God knows I need, revealed to me in the Word made flesh, and the rock-solid truth of the Scriptures.

Hope has a name and His Name is JESUS. When the light of hope fades within you, like it does in me sometimes, I challenge you to speak, proclaim, and praise the name of Jesus with the confidence of a trusted friend. Let your hope grow—not in what is to come or in what may be, but in Jesus, the long-awaited Messiah who has come to make His home in us. This Christmas, may Jesus, the Hope of the world, find a welcome place in our hearts.

Gifts With Impact

Need a little inspiration for meaningful gifts to give this Christmas? Check out our staff recommendations—there’s something for almost everyone on your list…

FADThe Fulfillment of All Desire: A Guidebook for the Journey to God Based on the Wisdom of the Saints

Book by Ralph Martin

We are all called to be saints, but most of us don’t have a clear idea of how to make that happen. In this book, Ralph Martin draws on the wisdom of the saints and the Scripture to provide a comprehensible overview of the path to union with God.

 

 


LNFLove Never Fails

 

Book by Debra Herbeck

Compiled by the founder of the Be Love Revolution, this treasury contains the writings of favorite saints and others. Enrich your soul or that of someone you love with these meditations on love: God’s love for us, our love for Him, and our love for each other. This is the message teenage girls and women of all ages need to hear!

 


HSNHeaven Starts Now: Becoming A Saint Day by Day

 

Book by Fr. John Riccardo

Fr. John Riccardo’s first book does not disappoint! It contains practical, Scriptural wisdom on key areas of life that can immediately be put into action and bear fruit. Each chapter includes questions for reflection and discussion, which also makes it a great choice for group study!

 

 

 

 


More of the Holy Spirit

Book by Sr. Ann Shields

This is a handbook of essentials in how to live the Christian life with power, love, and hope. Sr. Ann offers an inspirational message that will help us persist in prayer, re-dedicate ourselves as disciples of Christ, and ignite the fire that once burned within us.

 

 

 


WSCPWhen the Spirit Comes in Power

Book by Peter Herbeck

Peter uses inspiring testimonies and sound teaching in his book to describe the work of the Holy Spirit in the personal lives of Christians and in the Church throughout the world. Readers will learn how to grow in likeness to Christ, experience spiritual freedom and work with the Lord for the expansion of his kingdom on earth.

 

 

 


PWHPeace Will Have the Last Word

Book by Sr. Emmanuel Maillard

This book is engaging from the first sentence. It is full of stories that grab the reader’s heart and fill it with the certainty that—no matter what our circumstances—God is here, and He loves us.

 

 

 

 


RPDVRenewing Today’s Parish

DVD by Renewal Ministries

Great gift for your Parish Priest! This DVD contains five episodes of The Choices We Face full of insightful discussions with priests and people active in parish leadership about the ways in which they were able to revitalize the faith of their parishes. Guests include Fr. John Riccardo, Fr. James Mallon, and Msgr. Charles Pope.

 

 


More great gift ideas from Renewal Ministries»

 

The Importance of Joy

Joey McCoy recently wrote the following post for i.d.9:16’s blog.

‘Tis the season to nurture a joyful spirit. Here are some neat quotes and stories about persevering in joy throughout our journey with the Lord. (Every subsequent word is copied down from the book, Saintly Solutions by Fr. Joseph Esper.)

  • Philip Neri insisted, “A cheerful soul becomes holy more quickly.”
  • Teresa of Avila was known for her lively and affectionate personality, her sharp (although not unkind) wit, and her ever-present sense of humor . . . Teresa enjoyed life, food included. Someone once sent her a partridge for her meal, which she ate with relish. A visitor was scandalized that a saint was taking delight in her food and wondered aloud what people would think. “Let them think what they please, there is a time for partridge and a time for penance.”

Read more thoughts from the saints on how to bring more JOY to this Christmas season and everyday life by clicking here!