An Advent Devotional Study from Caring.
Christmastime can carry many mixed emotions—and lots of stress. But this year will be different.
Reserve five minutes a day to read the daily devotional entry in this series and journey through the Christmas season with peace, perspective and hope.
This “Hope and a Future: Advent Devotional Study” will guide you through the month of December to ponder afresh the story of the Bible with Jesus’ birth as the focus. Find daily a reflection, highlighted Scripture, meaningful questions and a prompt for prayer.
Connect with God this Christmas season and experience hope for the future.
December 4: Struggling With Trust
Take a deep breath. Invite the Holy Spirit to guide your thoughts through today’s reflection.
Sometimes trusting God is not easy, especially when we’ve experienced trauma.
My firstborn almost died at birth. For weeks, every day we walked into the neonatal care unit at the hospital in the mornings and I held my breath to hear the update. Did he pass while I slept? Did he make it through the night?
He survived—praise God. But then two years later I got pregnant again and struggled to trust God. Trauma has a way of making you spiritually hesitant. Real life roughs us up and pulls us tight.
In the Christmas story, Zechariah and his wife (Elizabeth) prayed for many years to have children—and they remained barren. The callouses on their hearts from hope and disappointment, over and over for decades, left tumor-like wounds of pain.
Then, in Zechariah’s old age, an angel appeared to him (as he performed priestly duties) and announced that Zechariah and Elizabeth, his wife, would welcome a son.
Dare he hope? Dare he believe? What if these words just led to another disappointment?
“How can I be sure of this?” Zechariah asked.
Maybe Zechariah wanted to believe—but he also wanted to be sure. Yet, certainty in anything takes away the need for faith; and doubting God’s words is almost like calling God a liar.
The angel Gabriel stated the obvious, “I am Gabriel. . .”
How could Zechariah be sure of this? Because Gabriel came directly from God and spoke God’s words—and God’s words are true.
Zechariah didn’t just struggle to believe the message; He mistrusted the character of God to be faithful. But we can understand his wobbly willingness to trust God when years of prayers seemed like they bounced back in an echo chamber.
Do you ever struggle to trust God? If so, you are not alone. But we can trust God’s character. He is faithful and true, even when we don’t understand his ways.
Read: Hear from God
Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.”
The angel said to him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their appointed time.”
Meanwhile, the people were waiting for Zechariah and wondering why he stayed so long in the temple. When he came out, he could not speak to them. They realized he had seen a vision in the temple, for he kept making signs to them but remained unable to speak (Luke 1:8–22).
Reflect: Focus on God
In what way do you struggle trusting God?
Do you have any lack of faith in the goodness and faithfulness of God’s character?
Pray: Talk to God
Talk to God about your reflections above. If you would like a sample prayer, here is one to follow:
Father God, faithful and true God, I worship you. I know at times I struggle to believe you. Please help me and please forgive my lack of faith. I want to trust you. I ask that by the power of the Holy Spirit, you will help my heart to trust and believe you more fully. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.
- Looking for a meaningful way to prepare your family for Christmas? Try our new, classic downloadable Advent Paper Chain. For 25 days, reflect on the love we receive from God and give to others during the holiday season.
- Join us in making a difference with The Salvation Army this season and help families in your community during the holidays and beyond.