Blooming in Hope when the World is Cold and Dark

 Christmas Cactus

----- Because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace. –Luke 1:78-79

In his name the nations will put their hope. –Matthew 12:21

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. –Romans 15:13 -----

The winter can easily bring on a feeling of hopeless. The daily grind of it all becomes too much to handle: the boots and hats, the bad roads and longer commutes, the frozen nostrils and numb fingertips. And at this time of year, the sun that goes down at 4:30 in the afternoon.

I love the symbolism of a Christmas cactus. It blooms when we most need that reminder of life. In its flowers we see that though the sun is not shining much, it is still shining enough to bring life. It reminds us that one day, that sun will shine warm enough and bright enough to melt the ice and bring to bloom the plants lying dormant under the frozen ground.

It is a symbol of hope.

Christ’s light is not simply a flicker or a glow or an aura; He is the rising sun. He is the source of life and warmth.

We bloom in Christ’s light as the Christmas cactus, a sign to others that His light brings life, and will one day will rid the cold and darkness from the earth.

The light of Christ is our hope. And through the Holy Spirit, we can be the symbol of that hope to others. ----- God of hope, shine the light and warmth of Christ into our lives. Remind us of the life He has given us. May our lives beam with the beauty of Christ, so that we may rest in Him and others may find their way to His hope. Amen. ----- In the Bleak Midwinter – Jars of Clay

“Shepherds fear the blinding light Haste to understand In the bleak midwinter Peace for child, for man.”



Noticing Immanuel: a series for Advent. Each day starts with noticing: a picture of an everyday Christmas moment. That picture leads to a verse, a meditation, a prayer, and a song. My hope is that when we see those Christmas moments a second time, they will strike us differently. That we might feel the presence of Immanuel this Christmas season, whether we are sitting in quiet or moving in chaos.