Good News: Blue Christmas

Advent is one of my favourite seasons of the year. It allows us to prepare ourselves for the birth of Jesus at Christmas. Last year we started at Queen Street Baptist Church to observe something called Blue Christmas.

Blue Christmas is about acknowledging that Christmas is not joyful for everyone. For many, Christmas is a reminder that some of our loved ones are no longer with us. They may have died close to Christmas or at least their absence is felt more deeply at this time.

With Blue Christmas, we take an opportunity to light a candle as we remember those we miss. This is not about lighting a candle for the dead, it is about lighting a candle for the living. It is an invitation for God to shine his light in our darkness.

It is a powerful experience for me to watch my congregation participate in this. It is also meaningful for me personally, as I think about my parents. Christmas is a time that I really feel the absence of my mom and dad. The years have not taken that away.

Blue Christmas is an emotional experience but it is also a good one. It helps me to refocus my emotions and to be able to dwell on the good memories.

This is my Good News.

Comment at: http://www.stephenjbedard.com/2017/12/10/good-news-blue-christmas/#.Wi8Lh1Q-eN9

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Hold Unswervingly To The Hope

Hebrews 10:23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.

Read more: https://raymcdonald.wordpress.com/2017/10/11/hold-unswervingly-to-the-hope/

4 Ways Our Hope Is Visible

“Hope is nothing else but the constancy of faith.”

– John Calvin

SEEING THE UNSEEN

When a person trusts in Christ, they are trusting that He exists, and that He lived a perfect, sinless life, therefore His sacrifice is sufficient to take our sins away, but we trust in a Person we’ve never met. That’s okay. I met Jesus in the Bible and I am with the Apostle Paul who said, “I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that day what has been entrusted to me” (2nd Tim 1:12).

Read more: https://www.christianquotes.info/images/4-ways-our-hope-is-visible/#ixzz4uH2DNvdO

Why You Should Stop Pretending You’ll Live Forever

Letting Death Help Us Live

So much of the message of the book of Ecclesiastes is “the Preacher” (Ecclesiastes 1:1) helping us to let the reality of our death sink into our bones and lodge itself deep in our hearts. But that’s because he’s writing a book about what it means to live. He wants the consequences of our fast-approaching disappearance from the earth to work their way out into all the realities of the way we see the world and the way we view ourselves within that world. The single question that animates him is this: If we won’t live forever, or even long enough to make a lasting difference to the world, how then should we live?

At the outset, Ecclesiastes 1:1–11 sketches a very basic point: Accepting death is the first step in learning to live. Wise people simply accept that they are going to die. This point may seem so obvious as to be simplistic. But, in fact, it’s highly significant when we stop and think about how much energy we devote to not accepting it.

The reality is, we spend our lives trying to escape the constraints of our created condition. Opening our eyes to this is a significant breakthrough. To be human is to be a creature, and to be a creature is to be finite. We are not God. We are not in control, and we will not live forever. We will die. But we avoid this reality by playing “let’s pretend.”

Continue at: http://churchleaders.com/outreach-missions/outreach-missions-articles/308771-stop-pretending-youll-live-forever-david-gibson.html

What To Do When You’ve Lost Your Hope

I’m writing this post today because I’ve met too many believers lately who seem to have lost their way. They desperately want to trust God without question, but life has robbed them of their hope. If that’s where you are, I pray these words might help you today.

  1. Be honest with God. He’s big enough to handle your frustrations and fears, and He won’t be surprised by what you tell Him. Even if you’re struggling trusting Him overall, trust Him to hear your cries.
  2. Realize that having Christian hope doesn’t mean we don’t grieve. When Paul spoke about Christians facing death, he didn’t say that we don’t grieve; he said that we grieve differently than the world does (1 Thess. 4:13). We have confidence in eternal life that the world cannot have, but that hope doesn’t eliminate our heartache. It’s okay to grieve and have hope at the same time.

Find the rest at: http://chucklawless.com/2017/08/hope-lost/

The conundrum of hope

The Conundrum of Hope

Recent Reads: Hope Prevails by Dr. Michelle Bengtson

What the book’s about: As the subtitle says, Hope Prevails shares “insights from a Doctor’s Personal Journey through Depression.” It emphasizes the spiritual nature of depression.

Hope Prevails

Why I read this book:  As a youth worker, I always want to be aware of and sensitive to families that are dealing with mental illness. I am constantly searching for books that might be a resource for my ministry OR for families dealing with these situations.

My favorite quotes from the book:

http://www.ymjen.com/blog/posts/recent-reads-hope-prevails-by-dr-michelle-bengtson