December 1, 2020

Genesis 1:26-27; 2:7  

“Then God said, ‘Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.’ So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.”

“Then the LORD God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.”


John 1:3-4

“Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.”


I’ve read these verses more times than I can remember, as someone who grew up in the church, but I find that I connect with them more and more as I get older. Often life feels messy and challenging with nobody to point you where to go or what to do, but as I return to these verses, these most basic of Biblical truths, I find it uniquely hopeful to know that I was created by a God who cares for me so deeply. We are unlike anything else on earth in the fact that God made us in His image. He breathed his breath into our lungs. And when I feel myself getting anxious or overwhelmed by the chaos of life, or when I feel like my life doesn’t have direction, I just read these verses and remember that God made me unique, and he gave me a purpose and an identity. My identity is in being a son of God, a follower of Jesus, and someone who can bring hope to those living in darkness.

As we go through an Advent season that looks unlike any other, my source of comfort and hope is in the birth of Jesus. “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:5). The continuation from the passage in John contains one of my favorite verses because it offers us not just hope, but hope that we can count on, hope that we can tell others about.

This holiday season, when things seem overwhelming, I want you to stop where you are, close your eyes, and take a deep breath. As you breathe in, I want you to say in your head: ‘Everlasting Father,’ and as you breathe out say in your head: ‘My hope is in you.’ Do this three times.


— Phelan Van Deren