ONE GREAT HOPE: Juleen
Celebrate God all day, every day. I mean, revel in him!
Make it as clear as you can to all you meet that you’re on their side,
working with them and not against them.
Help them see that the Master is about to arrive.
He could show up any minute!Philippians 4:4-5, The Message
When I was little, I couldn’t wait for Christmas. Oh, the anticipation! The long drive to my aunt’s farmhouse to celebrate Christmas Eve (a Swedish tradition) with all my relatives. Memories of the special dinner we would enjoy filled my mind to a degree that I could almost smell it as we drove. The roast in the oven with Swedish meatballs, mashed potatoes, homemade rolls, and that ‘who can top this’ layered Jell-O salad in Christmas colors with nuts and fruits of all kinds. Even the pickled herring sounded good to me, but the Ostakaka (euu-sti-kaka)… well, that word scared me, especially the way my grandmother said it with her Swedish accent, so I never tried it, but there were always other yummy desserts.
After dinner it was so special to hear the Christmas Story read by my grandfather. And of course, there were gifts! It was such a joyful time. We couldn’t wait till Christmas! The anticipation impacted our home for the whole month. We were filled with joy; we were happier, kinder to each other, and less agitated all month long.
Could it be that anticipation is the key to rejoicing in Jesus and having a spirit of celebration all day, every day? Anticipation, that is, for the hope of the coming Kingdom where there will be no sin, shame, disease, or death? Anticipation for a place that will be characterized by unselfish, loving relationships and not motivated by greed, approval, or selfish desires? And this could happen any time!
The Kingdom of God will be a place where we can be who God created us to be, where there will be a mutual appreciation for each other and a perfect knowledge and love of our Father. What could possibly top that? A reason to celebrate, indeed!
And while you’re celebrating the coming Kingdom, God’s presence will shine through to everyone around you!
Lord, help me to dream about your Kingdom and anticipate your coming throughout each day, rejoicing in you always. Help me to recall all the ways you have been with me in the past as I have gone through hard times, remembering your grace has always been with me! May the anticipation of your kingdom overflow to everyone I encounter today. Amen.
Juleen Kurz lives in Phoenix, AZ
I love cooking, baking and birdwatching. I am a retired Children’s Ministries Director but still do some consulting with my ministry, Reconnect Ministries. My passion is the faith of the next generation.
Wow! what a joyful, uplifting devotional. You brought joy to my heart. Thank you. Vi