Christmas Hope ~ from God's heart to ours

Christmas really is the most wonderful time of the year! Everything about it is my favorite!

Tis' the season for hosting and attending the grandest of birthday parties, singing songs of joy, gazing at the trees and lights, gift-wrapping with paper and ribbons, eating the most scrumptious foods (I'm sharing one of my favorite recipes with you at the end of this blog post), gathering with friends and family, all because of Christmas - the most glorious birth of all time!

Read Matthew 1:18-25.

Christmas is all about Hope! An unfailing promise to redeem hearts. It's a time for remembering Jesus' first coming, anticipating His coming again, and celebrating both at the same time.

Hope promised. 

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of his peace there will be no end, and the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of Hosts will do this (Isaiah 9:6-7 ESV).

Hope received. 

And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, guarding their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, "Fear not, for behold I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!" (Luke 2:9-14)

Hope coming again!

Then I  saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning , nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away." And he who was seated on the throne said, "Behold, I am making all things new" (Revelation 21:1-4).

Wow! Nothing is more exciting than living this life full of soul-satisfying hope! Hope spills from God's heart into ours as it soothes and calms our fears. Hope reminds us everyday that we belong to God because of the Christ Child, and one day we will reign with Him forever. He promised! Until then, hope reassures us that God is always with us and that He's always faithful

Hope in Christ is manifested through:

A confident heart - one that believes and trusts in the Lord.

A courageous heart - one that isn't afraid to walk by faith.

A committed heart - one who remains steadfast in Christ Jesus.

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone (Isaiah 9:2).

Doesn't Christmas just make you want to sing out with everything you've got, especially this beautiful carol of joyful assurance, written about the Second Coming of Christ? Me too! Let's burst into song together!

Joy to the world! the Lord is come;
Let earth receive her King;
Let ev'ry heart, prepare Him room,
And heav'n and nature sing,
And heav'n and nature sing,
And heav'n, and heav'n and nature sing.

Joy to the earth! the Savior reigns;
Let men their songs employ
While fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat, repeat the sounding joy.

No more let sins and sorrows grow, 
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found,
Far as the curse is found,
Far as, far as the curse is found.

He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness
And wonders of His love
And wonders of His love
And wonders, wonders of His love.

Words: Isaac Watts
Music: George Frederick Handel

Mama's Most Excellent Chocolate Pound Cake:

3 Cups of sugar
2 sticks of salted butter (softened) 
6 eggs
6 Tbsp Cocoa powder
3 Cups of all purpose flour
1 Cup 2% milk
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking power
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.

Using a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time. Beat well after each one. Add cocoa. Blend well. Alternate flour and milk (beat well after each addition until all is in the mix). Add salt, baking powder, and vanilla. Beat until creamy smooth.

Spray a tube cake pan with Baker's Joy. Pour cake batter into tube pan evenly.
Place in oven and bake for 1 hour 45 minutes - 2 hours. Cake is done when a toothpick inserted comes out clean.