Hi everyone. Rob here.
You may have noticed that stores put out their Christmas decorations earlier and earlier every year. It annoys me. To them, Christmas is a marketing tool that sells more products. The constant barrage of advertisements and brochures through my mailbox is an attempt to make me think about Christmas in materialistic terms; have we bought all the things that the commercial world is telling me are necessary to make Christmas special? For the sake of my heart I must resist!
The Church has a timetable for our hearts this season and it is called Advent. It begins this Sunday and it serves several purposes. It is a time of waiting for Christ. We enter into the story of 1st century Israel eagerly awaiting her Messiah, soaking in the ancient prophecies of Isaiah, Micah and more. As we do so we identify with their hope for freedom from oppression and justice for their people. We come to realise that our world needs the Messiah too and we also need more of Jesus in our lives. Our prayer during this time is an ancient one from the very end of the Bible: ‘Come Lord Jesus.’ It is a cry from the heart; an expression of longing from the deepest parts of ourselves. But Advent is more than that.
Advent is an expression of faith as well as longing. As Hebrews 11:1 says:
Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
It is not a vain hope. Jesus is coming. He came for Israel and for us, and he is coming again. He comes to us and for us right now through his Spirit and he will come for the world too. We can anticipate his coming but also celebrate that he has already come; he is already present and he is already at work in the world. Because of this we can add to hope the other words of Advent; peace, joy and love. These themes of Advent address the needs of our heart directly. Hope, peace, joy and love are what we are made for. They are what makes us human and through Jesus they have been returned to us.
This is a season to slow down and soak all this in. But you are like me. There is a lot to do. There is a need to finish this year well but also plan for next year. We have a holiday to organize. There are functions to attend at school, work and beyond. I am busy and so I must slow down. I suggest we all do. The Light of the World is breaking into our dark places. The Saviour is coming to rescue his people. The Son of Man is coming to give us our humanity back. The God of Love is knocking on the door of our hearts. Let’s open ourselves to him and enjoy a blessed season of Advent.
May hope, peace, joy and love be yours. Enjoy the video.