By Jaime Sherman
As I scrolled through old photos this week, I came upon one of my eldest daughter in a faded hospital gown and a yellow surgical mask as she awaited a chest x-ray. The timestamp was 8:51 a.m. November 27, 2019, the morning before Thanksgiving. After three weeks of coughing and a sudden turn for the worse, the trip to urgent care seemed more than urgent. We hoped for answers before the long holiday weekend began.
As soon as we stepped in the door, a nurse slapped a mask on my girl — something that doesn’t feel odd now but did then — and whisked us away to an exam room. When the x-ray results showed my daughter’s lungs were clear, the doctor had no explanation as to why she had been so sick for so long. “Rest,” he told her, “you’ll be over this soon.”
Yes, she healed from the virus in time, but I’m still waiting for the you’ll-be-over-this-soon moment to arrive. It’s been three years of a nasty virus and all its variants circling this spinning sphere on repeat and digging its claws into how we do life and interact with people. And we’re not over it yet. Dozens of my friends are waiting for their own you’ll-be-over-this-soon moments as various childhood viruses make a reappearance in their homes along with the virus that first shut this world down in 2020.
This season feels dark in a way it didn’t for me in November 2019 when my daughter was sick or in the spring of 2020 as government leaders issued the first stay-at-home orders or in early 2022 when we were still advised to wear masks everywhere we went. As I canceled our Thanksgiving plans for this week because of sickness — and the news headlines continued to scream ugly, fear was my default. What bug will invade our home next? Will we ever get to a you’ll-be-over-this-soon moment? Then my children started crying, “Why, Mama, why do we have to be sick again?”
In that moment as I tried to calm our disappointments, the Holy Spirit gently reminded me that I wasn’t setting my mind on the hope I have in the person of Jesus Christ. Rather ironic, I thought, considering I’m the one who has been studying biblical hope these last few years and authored a book on the topic. And now as I write, I look down and find a slip of paper given out at the UFC Silence & Solitude day retreat last weekend:
Today I’m choosing to turn my heart back to what is good and count the blessings the Lord has bestowed upon me, my family, and my friends. Here’s a start:
- I am never without hope when I am anchored to Jesus, the light in a dark world. I’m going to light up my home this coming weekend to remind me of this truth!
- In sickness and the changing plans sometimes week after week, my family is given sweet time together. I’m going to treasure this holiday season with my littles — and not-so littles.
- The Holy Spirit lives within me, giving me strength to face a dark world. He will never abandon me to do life on my own. Let’s turn the worship music up loud!
What about you? Will you join me in counting blessings and clinging to the hope we have in Jesus?
As we look forward to December 25 and the celebration of the day Hope arrived on earth, I’d love for you to journey with me through A Scarlet Cord of Hope. Scripture comes alive as the reader travels from the Garden of Eden to the crèche in Bethlehem to meet key men and women in Jesus’ family line. An invisible scarlet cord connects each narrative to a great story of hope, one that God began penning at the beginning of time to make a way for His sin-stained children to be reconciled to Himself.
Through this 21-day series of narratives, walk with Adam and Eve before they questioned God’s best for them and ate of the forbidden fruit. Meet Noah, Abraham, Sarah, and Isaac, as they followed God into new adventures. Travel with Joseph into Egypt and then with Moses and the 12 tribes of Israel as they escape more than 400 years later. Watch Rahab hang the scarlet cord in her window as she trusted the unseen God to rescue her from coming destruction. See how God wove her story into His own and into the lives of Ruth, Hannah and Samuel, and then David. Listen as Isaiah and Jeremiah prophesy of the coming Messiah. Walk alongside Zechariah and Elizabeth, Mary and Joseph, the shepherds, Simeon and Anna, and the wise men as their lives are touched by the birth of Jesus. Finally, get a glimpse of His one-day-soon, second coming.
A Scarlet Cord of Hope provides a daily pause for individuals, families, and small groups as they seek to keep their eyes on Jesus during a busy Christmas season. It also provides a way to prepare for Easter or to review key stories of the Bible at other times of the year. Books are $10 and are available at University Fellowship Church. If you’re out of the area, you may email firstname.lastname@example.org for a shipping option.
Finally, the women of UFC are invited to a special Advent Evening on December 8 that will include storytelling, worship, and special music to continue the journey along the scarlet cord of hope. The free event will be from 7 to 9 p.m. at UFC’s Emerald Campus. You are invited to bring along the women and girls in your life who would be blessed by the evening. Reserve your spots here.
Happy Thanksgiving, Friends! May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope (Romans 15:13).
JAIME SHERMAN is a wife, a home-educating mama of six, a writer and editor for University Fellowship Church in Eugene, Oregon, and a communications director for a Christian dance school. She is passionate about sharing the hope found in Jesus Christ with others. Click here or here to hear what she’s listening to this season.