Updated: Dec 10, 2021
I've missed it almost every year. Once I finally realize we are into advent season it feels like the scramble of the season is in full force and I have lost my focus before I ever gained it. Over the next four weeks this will be a space for you to pause, reflect and enter into the Christmas season with more intention. I will be sharing with you what stood out to me from The Daily Grace Co.'s, "Advent: Waiting for The Savior" devotional. I would love to hear your thoughts as you consider advent along with me.
The devotional reminded me how much Christmas is a season of waiting. Advent means the arrival of someone or something of importance. I was struck by how long God's people had been waiting for four thousand years! Generation after generation of God's people had passed, all hoping they would be the ones who would see the Messiah come, rescue, and restore them. In your season of life, how long have you been waiting?
I often think about the holidays in terms of "when will it all be over," versus "when will it get here." Have you ever felt that way? Our culture seems to immerse itself in a race to shop, cook, and decorate this time of year. If I'm honest, those are not on my list of top three things I would like to spend my time doing. I want to sit with the idea of slow waiting this year.
When I paused today and thought about Christmas in terms of waiting, I got it. I have been in long seasons of waiting, long seasons of hoping and those hopes not coming to fruition. I'm wondering if you can relate. From the moment Adam and Eve were ousted from the Garden of Eden the wait for redemption began. Who more than Eve must have hoped that the Savior would be one of her own children? She had been instrumental in the fall of all humanity and how much she must have hoped and waited and longed to see the Messiah come in her lifetime, to be restored before the curse of physical death occurred. Instead of redemption and life being restored, one of her sons murdered her other son. I can only imagine how she must have felt, "NO! This was NOT supposed to happen!" Her grief from being expelled from the Garden of Eden must have been compounded by the shame and horror of being directly impacted by the first murder. Instead of life being restored, there was more death, more grief.
On this first day of advent, I'm thinking about you and all the hard things you have been through this year. I'm thinking about how this time of year is excruciating and how isolated and overwhelmed you have felt amidst the lights, the laughter, and the "happy greetings." Let's just stop together right here and right now and acknowledge together that the events surrounding the first Christmas come with a sober hope that has endured long waits and deep grief. Our pastor spoke about the dark side of Christmas today, there are so many aspects of waiting for the Messiah's arrival, and events surrounding his birth that would never dare be pictured on a holiday card. Waiting for the Messiah was hard, just like the apprehension and hard feelings you have been having this time of year. You are not alone, or out of place in your "this is hard" feelings around Christmas. In fact, your somber and painful entrance into this season are probably more on point than the merriment we see on the surface of media advertisements and Hallmark movies. Before "hark the herald angels sing" there was weeping, bondage, and countless deep nights with no bright star.
Advent means someone of great importance is coming. This someone entered into the darkened shadow of the valley of death, the starless night, the cold stillness of death and would understand every awful component of that stillness. This someone entered into world through the cursed pain of birth, he empathizes with your weakness and identifies with you in all the ways you have absorbed pain because he is intimately acquainted with bitterest grief. His body, marked by the scars of torture, will offer you his shoulder to cry on. He will capture all your tears, record them, and shoulder your burdens on this unchosen journey. He will uphold you with his righteous right hand. This is someone is Jesus. He is with you in the waiting. This is the man of Christmas - a man also of sorrows.
Memory Verse of the week: This hope will not disappoint us, because God's love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. Romans 5:5
You can find the Waiting for the Savior advent devotional these blogs will be inspired by here: https://thedailygraceco.com/