As we put Thanksgiving celebrations to rest (but hopefully not daily gratitude), we step into another celebratory season.

Christmas is coming and Advent prepares our hearts to receive God’s greatest gift.

Over 2,000 years ago, the world was very dark. The Jewish people were living under the boot of the Roman Empire that was bent on keeping them down.

Like a rope wet with tears, hope was slippery at best and difficult to hold onto.

Every new tax burden, enslavement or mockery burned deeper into each man, woman and child until daily life was more existence than living.

Yet the faithful ones reminded the people of God’s promises to his people. He would not forsake them and they could count on the truth and dependability of his promises.

So, they hung on…wearily…but tenaciously. And, it was into this darkness that Jesus came.

Today’s world is equally dark. Oh, we may still know liberty as compared to nations whose governments do not embrace freedom at all. However, we are slowly being boiled like the proverbial lobster that doesn’t recognize that the water is getting hotter.

There are so many ‘truths’ being bantered about out there that our ears are ringing and being tickled by untruth disguised to appear as truth. A specialty of Satan, the father of lies.

Consequently, we cling to seasons like Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter that still hold out that one gift that every soul needs so much.

Hope.

Proverbs 13: 12 NKJV says it best. “Hope deferred makes the heart sick. But when the desire comes, it is a tree of life.”

About 42 years ago, I wondered if hope existed for me. Suddenly being thrust into single parent, head-of-household status, I didn’t feel prepared to handle it. I had more questions than answers. And the burden pressing down on my shoulders seemed more than I could bear.

But I had a precious child to consider. I couldn’t allow myself to be crushed ‘under the circumstances.’

So, back to the Bible and the God I knew. He forgave me, set my feet on the rock of his salvation, pointed me in a purposeful direction and gave me hope!

When all I saw was loneliness and defeat, I felt like the Proverb describes…sick at heart. But when Jesus (the desire of every person’s heart) came and reminded me of who I belonged to and was held by, deep roots and new life blossomed.

Expectant waiting with hope for his return opens the Advent door to receive Jesus, God’s greatest gift. Selah

Jan Merop, a columnist with the Highlands News-Sun for 30 years, resided in Sebring for 28 years; now living in North Carolina. Visit her blog Journeying with Jan @ pauseandconsider.net.