12 Days of Christmas: The Hope of Christmas by Jennifer Carr
Today is the second of our 12 Days of Christmas and it’s a joy to welcome Jennifer Car. She’s sharing a short excerpt from her book and then a Christmas devotional.
Excerpt from The Lost and Found, by Jennifer Carr
“As we consider the Christmas season, we are reminded of how Mary and Joseph were forced to leave the comfort of their own home in Nazareth to embark on a journey on foot to a town forty miles away called Bethlehem. Caesar Augustus had decreed it necessary, therefore, the couple had no choice but to make the venture. If the journey alone would be tedious and long, how much more it had to be for Mary, a young girl who was not yet married and very pregnant with a baby she had not asked to bear. That does not mean Mary and her betrothed weren’t stressed or scared. It was an undertaking that neither of them could have foreseen. Yet, they made the trip because it had been ordained by the same God who had chosen Mary to bear his Son.
“Most of us know the story from there. They arrive in Bethlehem to discover there is not a real room to be had in the city, forcing Mary and Joseph to take shelter in the space where the animals were kept. As if all of that was not enough, Mary was then faced with the experience and challenge of giving birth far away from home, without the support system she’d likely had in place, potentially surrounded by animals.
“It’s a shame we are not given more insight into how Mary and Joseph were feeling or what they were thinking in these moments, but we can make a fair assumption that they probably felt a little lost and overwhelmed. I would even speculate that there was fear and desperation amid their uncertainty.
“There are moments in our lives like the ones Mary and Joseph faced. You know those moments – when you check your bank account to find just how much faith you need to make it to the next paycheck; when the doctor walks in and tells you there’s nothing else he can do; when everything seems lost and there’s only hopelessness remaining. Here’s what we often forget – that is not where Mary and Joseph’s story ended.
“Just when Mary thought everything was hopeless, when Joseph felt nothing but helpless, hope found them. Help arrived. Their weary and wandering souls were found and made alive by the arrival of the Messiah who entered the world that night. I want every person in this room tonight to know that even when you feel completely lost and alone, there is a Savior who is seeking to know you and claim you as his own.
“The same Jesus we celebrate each Christmas was born so the lost could be found, the weak could be made strong, and the hopeless could have hope. All he asks is that you trust him to follow through. Will you trust him?”
The Hope of Christmas
Proverbs 3:5-6 (English Standard Version)
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
As we reflect on the Christmas season and the remarkable journey of Mary and Joseph, we find a profound lesson in trusting God’s plan, especially when faced with unexpected and challenging circumstances. Imagine the emotions that Mary, a young and pregnant girl, and Joseph, her betrothed, must have felt as they embarked on a demanding journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem, forced by a decree from Caesar Augustus.
In our own lives, we too encounter unexpected journeys—times when we feel lost, overwhelmed, and uncertain about the path ahead. The struggles of Mary and Joseph resonate with our own experiences of financial strain, medical uncertainties, and moments of despair. Yet, just as Mary and Joseph’s story did not end in the discomfort of a stable in Bethlehem, our stories do not conclude in our moments of deepest struggle.
The Christmas narrative reminds us that in the midst of their trials, hope found Mary and Joseph. Help arrived. Their weariness and uncertainty were met with the arrival of the Messiah, bringing light to the darkness of that stable. Similarly, in our moments of despair, Jesus, the Savior we celebrate each Christmas, is seeking to know us and claim us as his own.
The question arises: Will we trust Him?
The challenges we face may seem insurmountable, and our understanding may fail us. Yet, the invitation is clear—to trust in the Lord with all our hearts, leaning not on our own understanding. Mary and Joseph’s journey teaches us that even in the most unexpected and challenging circumstances, God is at work, weaving together a story of redemption and hope.
The same Jesus born in a humble manger came so that the lost could be found, the weak made strong, and the hopeless filled with hope. The message of Christmas extends beyond the nativity scene—it is a promise of restoration and renewal for each one of us.
As we navigate the complexities of life, let us continually ask ourselves the question: Will we trust Him? Regardless of the circumstances, the answer lies in surrendering our hearts to the One who holds the universe in His hands. In trusting Him, we find assurance that our paths will be made straight, guided by the light of the One born in Bethlehem.
May this Christmas season be a reminder that, just as Mary and Joseph trusted in the divine plan unfolding in their lives, we too can trust in the God who brings hope to the hopeless and light to the darkest of nights. Will you trust Him today?
The Lost and Found is the second book of the No Matter What series but can be read as a standalone.
In the small quiet town of Owenston, Kentucky, former FBI agent Mark Collins has found a new purpose as the county Sheriff. Married and enjoying the prospect of becoming a father for a second time, Mark’s life seems picture-perfect. But when a series of petty thefts turns into a murder investigation, Mark’s peaceful life takes an unexpected turn.
As Mark delves into the case, he uncovers a heartbreaking truth – two young boys have lost their mother and are now alone in the world. Determined to seek justice for the victim and find a family for the boys, Mark’s goals broaden beyond solving the crime.
With his steadfast resolve and unwavering faith, Mark embarks on a race against time to catch the killer and provide a safe haven for the boys. But as he digs deeper, he realizes that the case is more complex than he ever imagined, and the danger hits closer to home than he could have anticipated.
The Lost and Found is a Christian suspense novel that will keep you on the edge of your seat, blending thrilling intrigue with heartwarming moments. Mark’s unwavering commitment to justice, his ever-expanding family, and his unwavering faith in God make for a gripping tale of redemption, hope, and love. Can Mark untangle the web of secrets and find a way to heal the wounds of the past? Discover the truth in this captivating story of courage, compassion, and the power of love.
A wife, mom, author, marriage and family counselor, a former AP Psychology teacher, and a podcaster, Jennifer draws from her life experiences and imagination to connect with her readers and listeners through the written and spoken word.
Married to her childhood best friend and the mom of a creative daughter, Jennifer enjoys a quiet life on their farm in Alabama.
When she’s not wearing one of her many hats, you’ll find her tucked away with a book and what’s likely her third coffee of the day.
Find Jennifer’s books at jcarrwrites.com, Amazon, Kindle, and Kindle Unlimited!