In preparing for Advent, which starts today, I did a little digging in hopes of grabbing hold of Advent in a more significant way. In case you are unfamiliar with Advent, the word comes to us from the Latin word “adventus” which means “coming” or “arrival. Of course – don’t we all look forward to the coming of Christmas?
Eagerly we count down the days, often on an “advent” calendar, until December 25th. But it seems to me that what our kids are really counting down to is Santa’s coming – when they will get their presents. Probably also counting down until the Christmas break:) We may also be counting down until we see relatives or go on a holiday vacation. All valid reasons to be excited, but not the Coming Advent calls us to reflect on.
What I had never considered until reading one of Noel Piper’s articles on Advent (Noel is pastor John Piper’s wife) is that in celebrating Advent we are “re-enacting… the thousands of years God’s people were anticipating and longing for the coming of God’s salvation, for Jesus.” Remembering the generations of people before Christ who didn’t know exactly who was being waited for or what salvation would entail but who waited and proclaimed the Grace they were told of and believed was coming.
Don’t you know other people thought these people were crazy? It seems like at some point they would’ve given up continuing to proclaim the coming Good News to the next generation I mean don’t you know they must have grown weary and on the verge of hopeless trying to stay positive and hopeful in this unknown person coming to bring salvation in some unknown way!
I mean we like to know details, exact dates and guarantees. We get frustrated because we don’t know or understand God’s plan for our lives and certainly not his timing. So anxiety, doubt, discouragement and disbelief overtake us and we lose hope!
Maybe they did too, but it never kept the message of the coming King from going forth. And just as the babe arrived fulfilling the long-awaited prophecies, these believers were fufilling God’s calling for us. That’s right – for us!
“It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but YOU, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look.” 1 Peter 1:12
Because of their love and service, we can better believe. Their stories serve us as tangible memorials marking God’s faithfulness throughout all generations. Their faith in what was unseen, by God’s grace will encourage us to also hope in what’s to come.
As these precious ancient believers are remembered for their expectant wait of the Promised One, might we, too, be a people defined by His coming. His coming that has made Him present here with us now! So as we stop to reflect and remember this Advent season, may we draw more near to Him expectantly of His grace and goodness in our lives.