Celebrating Hope in Austin, TX

26 11 2012

The holiday season is upon us.

{Nothing like stating the obvious after a couple month’s absence in the bloggerhood. How have you survived without me?}

During these weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas, most of us make every effort to embrace a spirit of celebration. We transform our homes into twinkle-lit wonderlands of greenery and glitter. We gather with family and friends for feasting and festivity. It’s a time for giving and receiving gifts, music and laughter, parties and more parties, and if we’re honest?

It can be the most stressful, exhausting, depressing season of the year.

Because, as much as we may strive for pinterest-worthy perfection, we’re not polished and perfect.

Our families don’t look or act like the air-brushed families in tv commercials. Our lives are messy. Our relationships are strained. Some of us are lonely or grieving or fearful. Others live with chronic pain. Our hearts are heavy for prodigal children or aging parents or a marriage that somehow veered off the road to happily-ever-after and landed in a ditch.

We’re broken. All of us. In one way or another.

And that’s exactly why this season belongs to us.

For those who put their trust in Christ, these weeks leading up to Christmas are much more than a cinnamon-scented frenzy of activity and spending. This is the season of “Advent” — a word that means “Coming.” And Advent is much more than a wreath of colored candles or a porcelain nativity set.

Advent is a slowing down. It’s a time of watchful waiting. It’s light increasing until darkness is consumed. It’s redemption crashing in on all our selfishness and sin, then taking the shards and creating unspeakable beauty.

Advent is God’s only Son laying aside His glory to be born a human child. Born to die for a world that would despise Him — a world that He would love all the way to the cross, in spite of their hatred and rejection. And that extravagant love?

That love would be the seed that planted the upside-down Kingdom, where the weakest are mightiest, the despised receive the most honor, the humblest are raised up and seated in heavenly places, and the best gifts are the ones that bow us lowest.

Advent means our grief, pain, and fear can be gloriously transformed with eternal purpose. But we have to look beyond personal ambitions, dreams, and expectations if we want to see it.

And that’s why I’m excited about this weekend.

Sunday, December 2, I’ll be in Austin, Texas, speaking at a fundraising event for an organization that embodies the true spirit of Advent. Hope4JD provides encouragement and practical help for families of children suffering brain injury due to nonfatal drowning. And it exists because one family refused to be embittered by their own deep pain and loss. Instead, they turned to Jesus and invited Him into it.

And He redeems everything He touches.

If you have friends in the Austin area, please direct them to this post or pass along this link, and encourage them to share it with others. The event is from 3:00 to 5:00 PM at First Evangelical Free Church and is open to the public. Admission is only $10, payable online or at the door, and all proceeds go to the work of Hope4JD. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if hundreds of people came together on a Sunday afternoon to sing and share and celebrate the hope we have in Christ, meanwhile giving the gift of hope to families in crisis?

Please pray with me as I go, that my words would be His, seasoned with grace, lifting hearts to the One who came once to save and is coming again to make all things new. Pray that my eyes and the eyes of all who attend would be opened to see the King in His beauty — that all other loves and longings would pale in comparison to Him. Pray that hope will find our hearts, and our hearts will respond with rejoicing.

The holiday season is upon us.

I can’t think of a better way to begin it.

* * *

Giving thanks in community for (#624-648):

Malia Eden
the miracle of birth
the hard work of relationships
my computer crashing
letting go
dancing in the carriage house
safe travels
tea and biscuits
the Sparrow singing
Natalie and Seth’s wedding
conversation with Michelle
Harrison
the grace to remain silent
hospitality
Luke’s cheerful service
Naomi’s prayers
Sarah’s blood pressure
Eliot
Shelly and Aaron
the Hartman family
Hope4JD
fall color so glorious it makes my heart ache
repentance
home

{Please do let me know if I’ll have the pleasure of seeing you in Austin!}


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18 responses

26 11 2012
Patricia Hunter

I have missed you. Beautiful truths…and of course, I’ll pray. Jesus shines all over you, my friend. I’m confident there will be much healing and rejoicing as you share what He has done in and through you. Love, Patricia

26 11 2012
jeannedamoff

Thank you, my friend. Your prayers and encouragement are deeply appreciated. I miss you, too. You have no idea how often you are in my thoughts. xo

26 11 2012
Tatia Cook

Wonderful to have you back, Jeanne 🙂 I’ve enjoyed your Facebook postings immensely, but I’ve missed your way with words! I agree with Patricia (above) – Jesus DOES shine all over you and through you. AND your family. May He be glorified in all that you say and do in Austin. ((Hugs)) 🙂

26 11 2012
jeannedamoff

Thanks so much, sweet Tatia! You’re a blessing to me. And your prayers are a gift. Much love.

26 11 2012
wendy slayter

Welcome back! Ive missed you. I even facebook stalked you to make sure we were still “friends”. “Pinterest-worthy perfection”, I love it. Ill keep you in my prayers.

26 11 2012
jeannedamoff

Thanks, Wendy! And oh my goodness, I would never, ever, ever “unfriend” you! You and your family are dear to me. Love to all.

26 11 2012
Deidra Riggs

I’m praying with you as you go. (So good to see you here.)

26 11 2012
jeannedamoff

Thanks, Deidra. I’m deeply grateful for your prayers. (So good to be seen!) Love to you.

26 11 2012
Diana Trautwein

I have missed you – loved your photo for Sunday. LOVED it. And I’ll be praying for this perfectly-timed event and for you as you bring your lovely words and God’s heart to those gathered together, needing encouragement and hope. So glad to see you.

26 11 2012
jeannedamoff

Thank you so much, Diana. I’ve missed you, too. Your kind words and prayers are a gift. xo

26 11 2012
lschontos

I’ve missed you too and was so happy to see you had a post today. I promise to pray for you dear one.

26 11 2012
jeannedamoff

Thanks, lovely Linda. What a treat to see these beloved faces in my comment section. And what a blessing to know such dear women are holding me before the throne of grace. My heart is full. Love to you, friend.

27 11 2012
Danielle

It is the broken that leak all over the place, that shine the most light through the cracks. Loving your authenticity my friend, your post is a blessing.

27 11 2012
jeannedamoff

Yes. Isn’t grace a wonder? Thank you, Danielle.

28 11 2012
Daniel Farrow

I’ve kept up with other blogging friends, but I miss hearing the wisdom that God gives you. Don’t be a stranger now! 🙂

28 11 2012
jeannedamoff

Thanks, Daniel! I’ll try. 🙂

28 11 2012
HOPE4JD Fundraiser – 12/2/2012 | eponymrevival

[…] is hosting author Jeanne Damoff, author of Parting the Waters, to share how her son’s near drowning accident tested her […]

6 12 2012
Simply Darlene

I missed the timely nature of your prayer request, but not you, not yours, and not others who share hope in His name.

I’ll say a post-event prayer…

BLessings.

And yes, I’ve missed ya somethin’ fierce.

Your comments are a gift. Please know I read each one with gratitude.

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