This Weekend at Hope:
  Countdown to Christmas | Coming Soon! | Isaiah 7:13-14  
Hi Hope Ames!
 
"It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas..."
 
Okay, it doesn't look anything like Christmas, and that's a little disappointing for a Christmas fanatic like me. It was 60 degrees at one point this week, and I haven't seen so much as frost on the ground. None of that has stopped me from drinking a carton of eggnog per day, but I can't say that I'm the "Christmas mood."
 
Maybe you're not in the "Christmas mood" either...
 
I don't simply mean that you're not listening to Christmas music yet or that you haven't wrapped presents. Feeling like Christmas, for a lot us, isn't so much about trees or snow, but we want this time of year to bring peace - to be home with loved ones without having to worry so much about health, work, school or any other duties.
 
But, a lot can happen in a year. Things change, and we're harshly reminded of them during the holiday season. Then again, a lot can not happen in a year too. The problems that we wish were sorted out by now haven't shown any signs of progress. Instead of Christmas joy, we feel a little helpless in our troubles, and those Christmas lights are dim amid the darkness.
 
Know this...
 
God has reached into your helplessness: "When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time..." (Romans 5:6)
 
God has overcome your darkness: "...his life brought light to everyone. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it." (John 1:4-5).
 
This is what's so beautiful about Christmas: when nothing else can do it, God brings us that peace we've been looking for. Our helplessness is his opportunity to show us how good he is, and our darkness is nothing to his consuming fire (Hebrews 12:29).
 
Perhaps, Christmas isn't so much about a "mood" or a "feeling," but it's about a God who makes his home among us (John 1:14), so that we can experience his unshakable peace no matter how much it doesn't "look like Christmas."
 
Peace,
 Danny
 
P.S. Speaking of Christmas, we'll be having our first ever Christmas Eve (Eve, Eve) service on Dec. 22 at 6:30 pm in the Ames City Auditorium! Then, we'll gather with all of Hope's campuses at Well Fargo Arena in Des Moines on Dec. 24 at 11:00 am, 2:00 pm and 5:00 pm to celebrate the coming of our Savior. Invite a friend, and see you there!
Women's Book Club
Wednesday, Dec. 4, 6:30-8:00 pm

The Women's Book Club will meet at The Link on Dec. 4 for a holiday cookie and wrapped book exchange (gently loved books). Join us then, or on Mondays starting in January for fellowship and discussion of the monthly book selection.
 
>>  Learn more 
Christmas Eve Service at Hope Ames
Friday, Dec. 22, 6:30 pm

Message by Campus Minister Danny Housholder: Joy Has Come! At Ames City Auditorium. 
 
Christmas Eve at Wells Fargo Arena
Sunday, Dec. 24, 11 am, 2:00 & 5:00 pm
 
Join us at Wells Fargo Arena for Christmas Eve services. We'll celebrate the birth of our Savior and Pastor Mike Housholder will share a message called, "Let It Shine!" There will be special music by John Cheatem, aka Jon Mero from The Voice, and live art by William Butler, as well as free parking downtown, reserved wheelchair and elderly seating areas, and lots of great live music. Quality childcare provided for infants and toddlers age 3 & under at all services. Invite everyone to come and experience the joy of God's love this Christmas!
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