As some of you may recall I’ve been observing the season of Advent now for many years. Hi, it’s Ian from warming up Sydney.
Advent means “arrival”. Interestingly, the arrival, Jesus as a babe, occurs on the last morning of Advent, ie, Christmas morning. And then of course, the season encourages us also to reflect on the Second Coming of Christ.
How do we Wait?
We know waiting, don’t we SUMites? Besides the everyday matters on which we wait, we also wait for our partners to discover Jesus. To experience their own ‘advent’ of sorts. And we wait. For some of us, it’s been a long time.
“Every good arrival is preceded by a waiting, a suspension, a liminal moment.”1
We place our hope in that good arrival. It’s fascinating that the Gospel of Luke starts with the story of Zechariah and Elizabeth. I especially love this story in Luke 1: 5-25. I’d encourage you to read it, if you haven’t recently.
Elizabeth is barren. I suspect as Zechariah was a priest, they were an esteemed couple in society. Being unable to have children would have been noticed and I imagine brought much shame upon them.
But Gabriel appears to Zechariah telling him Elizabeth will conceive and give birth to a son, whom they will name John. Gabriel’s instructions are so specific, aren’t they? The Advent story starts in darkness, in the barrenness, but God entered and healed their pain and shame.2
Darkness often gets a bad rap but remember miracles happen in the dark all the time. All of us were conceived in the dark.
Advent reflects the hope of having a relationship with an outrageous God who comes in person, as a babe, dies after a short life, is resurrected, and walked amongst us for 40 days, before ascending to heaven. But, in leaving us, Jesus gave us the Holy Spirit and in so doing, gave us the power to co-create our futures here on earth with Him. But there’s more: we have a greater future when Jesus reigns forever more.
It's an exciting story, isn’t it? And one that fills me with great anticipation for the present, these four weeks of Advent and beyond.
What are you hoping for?
Advent coincides with the end of a year and often the beginning of a new year comes with hope for something new. We may be in our own season of darkness or a season of transition, waiting for the light to be revealed and a step into a fresh new something.
May we encourage you to reflect on this over the next days. Is there something you particularly long for God to do in your life? If yes, may we encourage you to bring that to Him. May we invite you to sit picturing Jesus with you. See the light and love brightly emanating from within Him in your direction. And simply open your heart to the lover of your soul. Sit some more and let Jesus hug you and bathe you in His inexhaustible love.
Happy Advent, dear SUMites. Wishing you and your loved ones a wonderful Christmas and New Year. See you in 2024.
Notes: 1. Advent Meditations – Practicing the Way. practicingtheway.org 2. Ibid.