Dear Hope Family,
This Sunday begins our annual pilgrimage to Christmas known as Advent, and we are beginning a sermon series looking at select passages in the book of Isaiah, asking the question, “What are you waiting for?”
Typically, we think of this whole season as “Christmas,” because it’s when we decorate the tree, run the Mistletoe 5k, and eat just enough junk food that the yearly deal at Planet Fitness becomes ever so enticing. And as Christians we do all these things in celebration of what we know to be true about Jesus. This year might look a little different, though. We will probably spend less time at the office Christmas Party (if there even is one) and less time in the shopping malls (I mean, who wants to sit on Santa’s lap when he’s wearing a mask?)
But I don’t think this is such a bad thing, and hear me out. Maybe, just maybe, for once we will really feel the meaning of Advent without rushing to the joy and wonder of Christmas. The Jews of the Ancient Near East had no iPhone 12 to distract them from their deepest longings. Groaning for God to come and make things right, once and for all, was an ever present reality. My encouragement for you (and for me!) is to lean into that longing this year. What is it that you are waiting for?
Grab a good Advent devotional or simply read through Isaiah or one of the Gospels. As you read, you will be reminded once again that God has a plan, a good and perfect plan. But in order to experience the Christmas Day of that plan, we must first endure the Advent waiting. As I remember hearing David preach one Sunday, “There is a light at the end of the tunnel. But to get to the light, we must go through the tunnel.”