Ah, the season of Advent! Such a wonderful time. It's a time of preparation. Like the old carol sings, "Let every heart prepare him room." This is exactly the idea behind Advent. It's taking some time to prepare for Jesus to enter into our worlds. To enter into our joys as well as our sorrows.
During the first week of Advent, we focus on the theme of Hope. Hope is future oriented faith. It's what pulls us into tomorrow. Thinking about the future tends to be done in two ways: counting down or counting up. For example, we count down to Christmas—a fixed and known date. But so much of life is like counting up—we know it's coming, we just don't know exactly when. Maybe you've been counting up to a relationship, and you don't know if it will ever happen. Or maybe you've been counting up to the time when your kids will turn to Christ. Maybe you've been counting the number of days to something very important, and it's a rather large number. But it's been so long that you're starting to wonder will it every happen. Advent is both a count down and a count up.
In the midst of our counting, we see in Scripture that Christ brings hope to our lives. We have hope because of what Christ's first advent ultimately provided for us. Christ has saved us from our sins and dealt with our past. Christ is also now preparing for us a future. And Christ is actively working in our present. We have hope because of what Christ has done, is doing, and is going to do.
It doesn't mean that there is no pain or suffering. Oftentimes suffering is attached to the waiting we are in. It simply means that we know that God has, will, and is currently working. In fact, God never wastes a pain or hardship. He'll use every moment to shape and mold us more into the image of his Son, Jesus. In fact, he just might be using your situation to reveal to you the place where you've been putting your hope.
My encouragement for you this season: show up. Keep showing up in your worship. In your prayers. In God's Word. Keep showing up in fellowship with other Christians. Why? Because you never know when God will move. This is what Advent teaches us.
Here are some questions for reflection:
- Is there anything you are counting down to? How about counting up?
- How does the fact that God has taken care of our past, is giving us a future, and is working in our present give us hope?
- What are you hoping for this Advent season?
Have a blessed week!
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Notes from the Staff @The Woods