Stockings of Hope

Written by: Steve Crowder

From his youth, Steve knew he was called into the ministry which ultimately led him to Applied Life Christian College in Arkansas. Now as Lead Pastor of Highway, after two decades of ministry experience, marriage and raising three kids, Steve teaches with unique insight and practical application.

December 17, 2020

“The stockings were hung by the chimney with care 
     In the hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there” 
         (’Twas the Night Before Christmas by Peter, Paul and Mary)

As with many, the Crowder holiday traditions have always included hanging stockings on the fireplace mantle. I can remember as a kid being so fascinated with the unique name and Christmas characters of sequin sown on by hand to give each one that personal touch. It was especially cool knowing that my stocking had a removable drummer boy that could slide out of Santa’s hand while no one else in the family had any such detachable character. On Christmas morning, the stocking would be full of sugary goodies, some random toys and always some fruit and a variety of shelled nuts, both of which would find their way back into a bowl in the kitchen. Over the years, those two items were eventually removed from Santa’s list as wanted stocking fillers, which we all were extremely happy about.  

As parents, we’ve carried on the tradition with our kids of pouring out our stockings before opening the “bigger” gifts, but the real joy is in seeing them hang (the stockings, not the kids) above the fireplace awaiting the moment that they will be filled.
And this, my friends, is called HOPE. 

The Apostle Paul wrote to the Christians in Rome who may have been in a bit of a struggle to hold onto their hope. It is a scripture found in Romans 15:13; 

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” NIV 

Just as those colorful red and white striped stockings now hang from a festively adorned mantle in my house with hopeful anticipation of being filled by the “big guy in the red suit”, so are our lives in need of being filled once again with hope.  Paul said that He is the God of HOPE, and one thing we all need after a year like 2020 is hope!  Can I get an amen on that?!

So let these words from the prophet Isaiah encourage us as we step into the week of Christmas, 

“Do you not know…Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary and his understanding no one can fathom.  29 He gives strength to the weary, and increases the power of the weak. 30 Even youths grow tired and weary and young men stumble and fall, 31 but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not be faint” – Isaiah 40:28-31 NIV

I wish each of you a Merry Christmas as well as a Happy New Year to the entire Highway family!  May 2021 be all that we hope it will be, and may each of our homes be full of light and life this holiday season.

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