In HOPE 10.27

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David Timms



Dear friends, I've not sent an "In HOPE" since early November. I look forward to getting back to a more regular routine in the New Year. But I want to take this opportunity to thank you for graciously receiving "In HOPE" throughout 2010.

May you experience the Lord's richest blessings in this season and in the New Year. 

Prayer for Today

Loving Father, You are the Light in our darkness. In this season of the year, lift us beyond any despair and fear and grant us fresh faith in Emmanuel ("God with us"). When it feels impossible and overwhelming, rekindle within us the word of the angel that with You nothing is impossible. We come to You because You have first come to us. We choose to love and serve You. Have Your way in our lives. Amen.




“Greetings, favored one. The Lord is with you."
(Luke 1:28)

Christmas 2010

Hardship. Stress. Heartache. Pain. Worry. We don't typically associate these words with Christmas. But they marked the first century as much as our own day.

This past year has produced unprecedented strain for so many of us. Foreclosures. Job losses. Health issues. Injuries. Family strains. Broken marriages. Death. Everywhere we turn we see struggle. The economy has proven fickle, and much of what we've taken for granted has come unraveled -- partially or fully.

It would be easy to come to this Christmas with discouragement and exhaustion.

Mary and Joseph knew the feeling. Uncertainty, insecurity, hunger, and hardship surely marked their lives. Perhaps it's why they deferred their wedding. It's doubtful that Joseph was a well-employed tradesman; much more likely an unemployed day-laborer with some carpentry skills and not a penny of savings. They knew the fragility of life -- as we do.

Then an angel came to Mary. (Luke 1:26-38) "Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you." Really? Favored? Graced? It's hardly what she expected favor or grace to feel like. "Do not be afraid; for you have found favor/grace with God."

We might share Mary's initial cynicism and fear. But angels (messengers) still come to us in dark days and remind us that God is gracious. Our "momentary light affliction cannot be compared with the eternal weight of glory that awaits us." (2 Corinthians 4:17)

"For nothing will be impossible with God," the angel went on to tell Mary. And it's true. The Father specializes in doing the miraculous. When we can't, He can.

And the appropriate response is not simply gratitude -- "Thanks a lot!" Instead, it's Mary's response -- "Behold, the servant of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word."

Christmas calls us not just to reflective celebration but to renewed dedication; not just to remembrance but to surrender. The unexpectedly good news is that the strains of life do not eradicate the grace or the power of God. They provide the black background against which the glory of the diamond is best seen.

May this Christmas be marked by fresh hope and faith within each of us.





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You can find back issues of "In HOPE" (2005-2010) at .

David Timms serves in the Graduate Ministry Department at Hope International University in Fullerton, California. "In HOPE", however, is not an official publication of the University and the views expressed are not necessarily those of the Administrators or Board. "In HOPE" has been a regular e-publication since January, 2001.