By Kristi Sullins
The short time between Thanksgiving and Christmas is typically associated with chaotic schedules, increasing debt and exhaustion. Somewhere into the journey of adulthood we lose the wonder of waiting. The anticipation of parties with friends, school being out, and the unknown of Christmas morning is traded for duty, demands and disappointments.
Enter the need for Advent. Advent comes in this in-between time, and it calls us back to the wonder of waiting. We are reminded of more than just the reason for the season, but the reality of the wait.
The first week of Advent is a time to have a renewed focus on the hope given to those who were waiting for more.
More than just sacrifice; more than just slavery; more than just struggle. Isaiah was one prophet God used to give His people hope in the One who would come to them. He tells us in Isaiah 9:6 that God was sending the One who would be Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father and Prince of Peace.
This was God’s promise to His people. It was a promise that would require patience for it would be about 700 years from the time this promise was given to the time it was fulfilled. That time was not filled with peace and joy. It was filled with bondage and the unknown. 400 years of that time was filled with silence from the God who had never left them. Even when they had wandered from Him He had spoken to them through leaders and prophets. Then silence. The silence forced them to hold to the hope given to them through the prophets, and then they waited. Waited through dark years when rulers changed, the law was forgotten, traditions were lost and holding on to hope was a struggle. Still they waited and hoped for the promise of the one who was coming for them. Coming to bring them hope and a future.
What are you hoping for today? Have you reached a point where you would honestly say you no longer “waste” your time with hope?
I encourage you to start this season of Advent off with a renewed prayer for hope. We no longer have to wait for our Messiah, and His coming offers us hope. Hope in a God who keeps His promises in His own perfect timing. Hope in a God whose plan is perfect. Hope in a God whose love is without measure, and freely offered to all who would seek Him. Hope, not in a world that is constantly shifting, but in a God who sent His Son to be the savior of the world.
Would you take time to reread Isaiah 9:6-7? What do you hope for? Are you struggling with the patience it takes to wait for God to fulfill His promises? Hebrews 6:18-19 reminds us that because of the unfailing character of God we have an anchor for our hope. It is time for Advent, our season of hope.