Here we are again, y’all. That most wonderful time of the year. But I’m feeling a little bah-humbug myself. The thought of Black Friday shopping makes me break out in hives. Crowds and spending money like it’s going out of style stress me out. Plus, I see all the “stuff” around my house and can’t imagine why we need to add more to it (I stayed home in my pj’s and watched old movies all day). *Sigh* So, I have to do my annual refresh on my thought process (and my heart process).
First up, it’s remembering that we are in the season of Advent. So what does that mean exactly? Well, good ole Wikipedia is here to tell us (do you sometimes miss those Encyclopedia Britannicas as much as I do? Yes, they were older than me, but they smelled heavenly and the heft of picking one up left me feeling like I’d certainly accomplished something):
Advent is a season observed in many Christian churches as a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas as well as the return of Jesus at the second coming. The term is a version of the Latin word meaning “coming”. (Wikipedia)
Look! You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. Luke 1:31 (CEB)
Expectant waiting…preparation…return of Jesus…second coming…It *does* sound exactly like how I used to feel as a kid just waiting (usually not so patiently) for Christmas to get here. That was rough! But the hope of what was to come kept me hanging on, feverishly anticipating what Santa might leave for me and for whatever was underneath all of that red and green wrapping paper. And that’s exactly how God wants us to feel about Him…living in abundant hope and longing for Jesus’s return with baited breath and a fervored excitement.
For me, 2018 has provided plenty of obstacles to living in that excitement and anticipation. And my horizon line still looks a little dark. So I long for the Advent feeling. Here’s the thing, though. That feeling came along with the Gift given to us all two thousand and some years ago. Our job here is to claim it. It slept softly under a blanket of stars, surrounded by the sounds of sheep and cattle, all while poor dirty shepherds and wealthy educated men bowed down side-by-side in reverence. When I finally get around to decorating the house, the moment I pull out my Maw Maw’s nativity scene, I will be overcome with the Advent feeling. It will breathe new life into me. I will feel the Hope envelope me and I will cling to it.
The truth is, I can live in fear/worry/fret ‘til the cows come home. Or, I can accept the Gift of Hope that this time of year signifies. I can hold on tightly to it (sometimes like a life raft). I can know that He is good, and I can believe beyond all measure that He is God.
God said that light should shine out of the darkness. He is the same one who shone in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory in the face of Jesus Christ. 2 Corinthians 4:6 (CEB)
I encourage you, Friend, to join me in remembering what Advent is, and embracing it this season. I am going to choose Hope. I am going to claim Hope, and proclaim it. May the God who loves us, each and every one, be with you this season and always. May the Hope of Jesus live in your heart, and radiate outward into the world.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in faith so that you overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13 (CEB)
(photo credit to Getty Images for the featured image above)