Advent trumps the rest of the year for me. Its the season leading up to celebrating Jesus’ birth. In addition to that, its a season of celebrating being able to wait in a world now where we can get anything in the blink of an eye if we have the right resources, money, or in most cases Google or Amazon.
I grew up in a Southern Baptist church in Alabama. Lakewood Baptist Church to be exact. Many of my childhood friends and neighbors still go there. Some of my most favorite childhood memories took place in and around the walls of that church. I learned so much about what true community looks like and I am so thankful. What I never understood, though, was what Advent really was all about other than the candles you lit on the Sundays leading up to Christmas. It wasn’t until I started going to a more liturgical church when I moved to Atlanta that I began to understand and appreciate the Advent season as well as other seasons within the margins of the church calendar. Advent isn’t just lighting a certain colored candle each Sunday anymore, it’s a season of waiting and reflecting on Jesus and who he is for our world and for me. Bonhoeffer says, “The Advent season is a season of waiting, but our whole life is an Advent season, that is, a season of waiting for the last Advent, for the time when there will be a new heaven and a new earth.”
I’ve learned a lot about waiting in the past year. This year has been tough one with my family and our health. It has been very challenging and has required me to completely give up control because there was nothing I could do to change or prevent it. This goes completely against my natural inclination to try to control situations and have a plan (I always have a plan) and lean into God rather than try to figure it out on my own. It has not been easy.
I am in a season of waiting.
My plans haven’t worked out. What I want and think is best for me had not worked out like I hoped. Am I upset about it? Absolutely. Does is completely suck at times? Heck yes it does. BUT (thank goodness) I don’t put my hope in what I can control. I know its not about me.
My husband said the other day, “who’s that guy in the Bible that had terrible luck?” I giggled because he was right on target with how I felt. JOB! It feels just like what is happening in my life right now; bad news keeps lurking around the corner waiting for me to run into it. Still, I praise God because what I am experiencing is nothing like Job, but I only hope my response to this “suffering” is similar to how Job responded. Job lost everything… EVERYTHING; yet he still praise God through it all. Job 1:21-22, “…The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away, blessed be the name of the LORD. In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong.” Then later in Job 13, I stopped in my reading and couldn’t continue for a few minutes after reading verse 15 “Though he slay me, I will hope in him; yet I will argue my ways to his face.” Job is trying to reconcile his emotions with the truth of who God is in a real and raw way (taken from Proverbs 31 – First 5 App). Reconcile his emotions… goodness think about that for a minute. Despite his circumstances he will continue to put his hope in him. In the waiting, in the hurt, in the awful circumstances he is enduring that may even seem rightly unfair. Thanks be to God that we have the HOPE of Jesus, the ultimate gift of redemption, love, and hope for all of us.
We have to be broken to be healed again.
Hosea 6:1 – “Come let us return to the LORD; for he has torn us, that he may heal us; he has struck us down, and he will bind us up.” Continue to Hosea 6:3 – “Let us know, let us press on to know the LORD; his going out is as sure as the dawn; he will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth.”
He is our hope, like the springs rains that we all so desperately need in our lives when everything is dry and almost dead. In the waiting and the suffering, we can still be hopeful. Thanks be the God.