Advent & Hope

Who is Waiting for the Hope of Redemption?

How long, O LORD?  Is this not our cry?  Some days, we feel the warmth of His face shining on us; sometimes our feelings present us with fantastic untruths that we cannot shake.  We wonder, is His redemption worth waiting for?  Do we need “redemption”?   

If we are honest, we can all remember a time (perhaps that time is today) when we grew too weary to care about waiting, to remember our hope, to admit that timeless truths will remain unchanging, to believe that  His peace and joy far outweigh our weariness and unbelief.

Some feel they cannot celebrate…life is too hard…and in the midst of this struggle they give up waiting for the hope of redemption.  We remember the wars happening in other parts of the world, we think about natural disasters and those facing death and loss; and we do not lift our eyes to Christ, and therefore we feel odd singing “joy to the world.” 

Then comes the season of “Advent.” 

This season is not mandated, it is not an official church holiday season.  You are never required by Jesus Christ or His Word to “keep Advent.”  So consider your freedom from Colossians 2:

9 For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, 10 and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over every ruler and authority; 11 and in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision performed without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ, 12 having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. 13 And when you were dead in your wrongdoings and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our wrongdoings, 14 having canceled the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. 15 When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him.

16 Therefore, no one is to act as your judge in regard to food and drink, or in respect to a festival or a new moon, or a Sabbath day— 17 things which are only a shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ. 

I am not advocating Advent as a requirement, or necessary.  I am offering you the encouragement that sometimes our inner man (heart, mind, soul) benefits from a time of resetting our sight on all that God offers us in the Incarnation, all that He accomplished when He came in the flesh, all that He fulfilled in Christ, and how we are only alive in Christ–or not at all

There is no hope outside of Christ.  In the end, there is no self-made man, no self-created truths, no faith or religion or spirituality apart from Christ.  Knowing Him is Life! And Redemption, freedom to be who we were created to be, to be the “real you” in Christ! In these weeks of Advent let us cry out: Come Thou Long Expected Jesus!

born to set thy people free;
from our fears and sins release us,
let us find our rest in thee.
Israel’s strength and consolation,
hope of all the earth thou art;
dear desire of every nation,
joy of every longing heart.

Hymn by Charles Wesley, 1744

The Light has dawned; it has shone in the darkness.  Do not let the darkness overwhelm you.  Do not settle into it, looking for comfort or a way to work in it or through it.  Do not approve of other’s darkness in an attempt to make the Light seem more approachable.  As we cannot stare at the sun with our eyes, so our spiritual eyes cannot handle the Light while we love the darkness.  If His light has shone in your heart, enjoy the warmth, and let Him tend the flame–He will never extinguish even a faintly burning wick.  

In these weeks prior to Christmas, Advent, we rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep; and in it all–offer comfort from the God of all comfort; rejoice in His Truth, and encourage one another as we see the day drawing near.  

Anna and Simeon

I have found it very fruitful to spend a season thinking about two witnesses chosen by God to recognize His long awaited Messiah, from Luke 2:21-38. I’ve put together a resource for your Advent season, you can see it here!    The Kindle version is free from Friday 11/24/23-Sunday 11/26/23.  Enjoy!  

Persevere, brethren, as we eagerly await our eternal hope!

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash