I am absolutely in love with the advent season. In fact, others have found my extreme devotion and commitment to the Christmas season annoying at times (probably due to me starting up Christmas music right after Halloween). Part of me knows it's because I’m a sucker for nostalgia and have a hard time waiting for surprises. However, I also firmly believe that the roots for my love of this season are tied to the hope that rests in Christ. I am not writing to debate the timing of Christmas music, although if you hate being happy you can delay it as long as you like, I AM writing to you, asking you, to be mindful of advent ALL YEAR LONG. Here’s why, as believers and followers of Jesus Christmas is a celebration of the birth of Christ, it is also a beautiful reminder that there will be a second advent. Isaiah reminds us of this coming day.
1 There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit.
2 And the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD.
3 And his delight shall be in the fear of the LORD. He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide disputes by what his ears hear,
4 but with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; and he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked.
5 Righteousness shall be the belt of his waist, and faithfulness the belt of his loins.
6 The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together; and a little child shall lead them.
7 The cow and the bear shall graze; their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
8 The nursing child shall play over the hole of the cobra, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder's den.
9 They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.
10 In that day the root of Jesse, who shall stand as a signal for the peoples--of him shall the nations inquire, and his resting place shall be glorious. Isaiah 11:1-11 (ESV)
Do you see it? There is so much hope wrapped up in this text that causes my heart to sing. I long for the promised day when there will be peace on this earth. I long for the day of justice. I long for the day of love. I long for the day where liberals, conservatives, all nations, and all races will be drawn together under the banner of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Let's join together and work towards this reality now, as ambassadors of Christ, while awaiting His return.
My prayer for you is that this season will fill you with joy and hope, not because things are perfect and good now because heaven knows we are so far from that, but because of the promise that the bridegroom will one day return for His love, the Church, and fully establish His amazing kingdom. So this advent season, turn your eyes to heaven and be watchful, and when December 26th rolls around, don’t wait another three hundred and sixty-four days to begin watching and hoping again. If you’re in Christ, His birth, death, and resurrection is for you and therein lies a hope and joy that extends far beyond any pain this world can dish out.