I love the season of Advent; the mystery of the now and the not yet. The heartache of our broken world mingled with the sure hope of God’s healing and redemption both now and in the future, thrown together with the excitement of Christmas soon to come. It’s a potent mix!
Usually around this time of year, I’m gasping for breath and longing for life to slow down a pace of two so I can catch up. How different this year. Like many people, I’ve struggled with the winter lockdown more than the summer one. We have no idea what our world will look like next Christmas, either. Yet this year, more than ever, I’m looking forward to the lights, the carols, the laughter and the fun. And, I also am grateful for the season of Advent, which allows us to hold brokenness and hope alongside each other. Advent is a wonderfully rich season in itself, not just a run up to Christmas. It seems even more relevant this year. I’ve written more about it here .
These are a few ways we journey through and celebrate Advent. They have developed over the years; some we do every year, and some occasionally.
I begin my days with my mug of tea and a scented candle, mulling over just a few Bible verses on the theme of each of the four weeks of Advent. This week the theme is hope, along with that of the first candle. I listen to the haunting melody of “O come, o come Immanuel” as I watch the candle burning brightly in the otherwise dark room. I’m reminded that the darker the world seems, the brighter the hope of Jesus shines. Below is one of the verses I’ve been encouraged by.
“Yet this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, ‘The Lord is my portion, therefore I will wait for Him.’”Lamentations 3:21-24
For those of us with a Christian faith, the essence of Christmas is exactly the same this year as every year; God reaching down into our broken world to send his Son, in a frail, human body to live and then die to take the punishment of my sin, so that I can know God as my Father. This is worth celebrating! And for those who don’t have this faith, I’d encourage you to take look into it; this has been a year of shaking and a good time to question.
I’ll try to write a little something each week of this special season, but for now…happy Advent! May you have some hope filled days.