On cold winter nights, we like to sit around a crackling fire here at home. After awhile the fire dies down and the embers just glow. The only way to make them flare up again is to blow on them or stir the embers so air feeds the flame again.

When you’re discouraged, sometimes you need something that breathes a little hope back into your spirit. I hope this devotional and craft do just that for you and your family.

Hope for Moms devotional

“Your wife, Elizabeth, will have a son,” Gabriel announced to Zechariah (Luke 1). “He will prepare the way for the coming Lord.”

This was a HUGE deal. Zechariah’s son would be called John. And John would kick off the events that would lead to the coming of Jesus, the Messiah the Jewish people had waited for for hundreds of years.

Zechariah straightened. He cleared his throat. “How can I be sure of this? After all, I’m really old, and my wife is old too.”

Gabriel was stunned. God was about to show up in power and this was the response he got.

So many times we react like Zechariah. We speak from our puny perspective of what we see and know. “How will we ever afford health insurance, God?” Or “My five-year-old will never learn self-control. What am I going to do?”

We cram God into the confines of our imaginations. We define what he can do by the size of our tiny worlds.

As you go through the Christmas story, ask God to stretch your faith and fill your heart with hope—hope in who God is and what He’ll do in your family this Christmas season. He longs for you to believe in His greatness and to see life from His perspective instead of from your own. Have faith—and hope!*

Hope for Kids – Holiday Hope craft

The key to hope is actively remembering. The people of Israel got into trouble when they stopped remembering what God had done. (Psalm 78:42-43). When the prophet Jeremiah felt discouraged he remembered how God had been faithful (Lamentations 3:21-22).

Then I recall all you have done, O Lord; I remember your wonderful deeds of long ago.

psalm 77:11

So help your kids remember what God has done for them and for your family with these Hope Holiday Jars

Supplies: jar, star template, scissors, tempera paint, ribbon, paper

Print out the star shape and choose the star that fits the size of your jar.

holiday hope jar cutout
You’ll need the outside of the cutout to stay intact in order to tape it to the jar.

Cut out the inside of the star and tape the opening to the front of the jar. Dip your fingertip in tempera paint and fill in the star cutout with fingerprints.

holiday hope jar painting
Washable paint doesn’t work nearly as well as regular tempera paint.

Remove the star cutout and let the paint dry. Add the ribbon when the paint is dry.

Then write one word on a slip of paper that reminds you of something God did for you.

EXAMPLE: When he was six, my son got very sick and ended up in the hospital. I was overwhelmed and felt terrible for him. The first day there, the hospital staff played a game with all the kids and my son won. His prize was a stuffed Wile E. Coyote. He was so happy! Whenever I think of that hard time, I remember the moments when God reminded us of his presence. Wile E. Coyote was one of those moments.

Based on the story above, my son might write “Wile E. Coyote” to remind him how God surprised him with the gift of a stuffed animal when he was sick.

Fill your Holiday Hope Jar up with answers to prayer, special times, and favorite memories of what God has done. Need help thinking of something? Just ask God to bring something to mind; he will!

Another option

holiday hope jar star shape
Another option is taping the STAR shape onto the jar and finger-tip painting around it.
holiday hope jar outline
Here’s what finger painting around the star can look like.

When you practice “remembering” it helps strengthen your faith, and that spills over into hope. What God did in the past, he can do again.

Have faith–and hope!!

*adapted from Countdown to Christmas: 25 Stories & Family Activities for Advent by Carol Garborg

© Carol Garborg, 2020

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