One of the rhythms I enjoy at Hope is the celebration of the Advent season. The word “Advent” means “coming”. So, the Christmas Advent Season refers to “the coming of the Christ”. This special time of year anticipates the birth of the Messiah, the one who was promised to make the world right again.
Part of the reason why I enjoy this season is the opportunity to place ourselves in the narrative of hope and expectation seen in the biblical stories. This Fall, in the book of Daniel, we saw a snapshot of what life was like for the Israelites as they were living in exile, far away from home. They faced difficulty as they longed for and awaited the advent of the Messiah. Through the promises of prophets, the Jewish people began to expect an anointed one who would come as a king. “Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care” (1 Peter 1:10). They yearned for the Messiah. They knew they needed the Anointed One.
I think we can identify with some of the characters within the advent story: the despairing, yet hopeful nation of Israel, the perplexed, yet trusting Joseph and Mary, and the fearful yet obedient shepherds. They all looked for the one to make things right. There are certainly times when our lives seem desperate, uncertain and fear-filled. So, let us listen closely this advent season as we look to one who came to make things right again.
I look forward to this year’s Advent series: “A Thrill of Hope, a weary world rejoices.” We will walk through the rich theology and Scripture found in some of our classic Christmas songs. If you want a little homework, listen to “Come Thou Long Expected Jesus” as we prepare our hearts and minds for the upcoming worship services. We hope that during this advent season you will learn a lot, be challenged, and most importantly, be filled with the hope that only Jesus can bring!