Hope in Exile

Bible Reading: Isaiah 52:1-10
Author: Cindy Love (Texas, USA)
Sunday 1 December 2013 © The Upper Room.

I could not bring myself to say, ‘Merry Christmas’. I knew my friend’s Christmas would be overshadowed by concern for her child.

As we sang ‘O Come, O Come, Emmanuel’, about Israel’s mourning in exile and crying out to the Lord for deliverance, I was reminded of my friend and her child. Each was held captive in ‘lonely exile’ from the joy of the Christmas season.

I also thought that while the Church marches through Advent in a month, our personal journeys through Advent may take much longer.

When we have a difficult child, a dying spouse, a bout of depression, a crushing disease, a failing marriage, a loss of income or another seismic shift in our lives, we, like Israel, mourn ‘in lonely exile’, crying out for the Son of God to appear in our lives.

Looking back over unhappy times in my own life, I wondered, Is crying out for the Lord a cry of despair or a cry of hope?

Instinctively, I have known that I could not give up hope. Hope carries me through the weeks, months or years of ‘lonely exile’ and into the peace, love and joy promised in Jesus Christ.

Prayer: Dear God, grant us courage to hope and to persevere through bleak times in our lives so that we may know the joy you offer. Amen

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I am deaf with C.I. - basic BSL, want to learn more. Go to Bridgwater and Weston Super Mare signing church. Have met Gill several times. I think this is a wonderful!! My kind friend Astrid sent me this from Bristol - she has cycled round the world in 2 years - a magical feat! I found life difficult when becoming deaf and decided to make it more `visible` by making BSL jewellery. I have sold some and donate to BSL bible translation, so it is lovely to have this and I will tell my friends about it. JN