God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble (Ps 46:1)

You can face today with a living hope! With hope you can walk boldly towards your future because God holds your future securely in his hands. God will faithfully fulfill all his promises. With hope you can soar on wings like eagles; you can run and not grow weary; you can walk and not faint.

Your hope is the active source of your strength to overcome temptation. Your hope gives you the courage to face the hostile forces of guilt, shame and death. Your hope rests in the reality of God’s victory over evil through the death and resurrection of Jesus, and God’s gift of the Holy Spirit.

Because you have hope, you can show and love and compassion to other people without expecting anything in return, for you know that you have everything that you need in Christ.

Be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble (1 Peter 3:8)

There are people around you who live without hope; people who are filled with feelings of guilt, loneliness, shame and unworthiness. Before they will grasp the wonder of the hope of Christmas, they need a safe place where they can share and process their story. Everybody has a story to share. One of the best gifts you can give your co-workers or customers this Christmas season is the gift of your presence quietly listening to their story.

Imagine the conversation you would have had if you had come alongside a single, visibly pregnant young lady as she traveled from Nazareth to the hill country of Judea. Imagine her telling you her name was Mary and the amazing story of her pregnancy.

I wonder if anybody took the time to listen to the story of a homeless young couple with a newborn baby when they arrived in Egypt? If they had, they would have heard an amazing story of the birth of their child; a story about wise men, angels and shepherds. They would have heard a story of a terrible tragedy as the family escaped from Bethlehem.

Let your face sparkle with love as you listen to someone’s story with compassion. Listen with your eyes, giving your undivided attention (in a culturally appropriate manner). Listen with your ears, hearing carefully the words that aren’t spoken. Listen with your heart showing that you care.

Having a confident hope that God continues to act on behalf of his people, offer to pray. Pray with expectation, believing that just as God answered your prayers, God will intervene in their lives.

Your hope will sink deeper into the streams of living water flowing from God’s presence as you listen to someone else’s story.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God (1 Cor 1:3-4).

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