Advent: Hope in Waiting
“I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I hope.” - Psalm 130:5
THERE IS NO MORE JOYFUL TIME OF THE YEAR than Advent season when we celebrate, with family and friends, the birth of our Savior. For Christians, Luke’s account of Jesus’ birth is the centerpiece of the Christmas story. But I would like to suggest that another passage, Romans 8, is just as central to a Christian understanding of the meaning of the Advent season.
In Romans 8, Paul explains that the effects of sin, which we experience most profoundly in the brokenness of our everyday personal lives, are cosmic in their implications. In verse 22, Paul teaches that the “whole creation” was “subjected to frustration” and groans under the weight of sin. Because of sin, my relationship with God is broken and the collective human relationships are damaged as well.
But here is the really good news, and this is what the Christmas story is all about: We have in Jesus Christ a Savior who mends our personal relationship with God and who also promises to heal the brokenness of the totality of creation. Just as the effects of sin are cosmic, God’s redemptive plan is cosmic, as well.
Because of this reality, our outlook on life is filled with optimism and hope! We know how the story ends! But we also know that the Christmas story is not the final chapter of God’s story. We are waiting for Christ’s return.
When the angels announced the birth of Jesus, they were also announcing the coming of God’s kingdom. However, our daily lives attest to the reality that the Kingdom is not complete. We live in the “already – not yet” of Kingdom time. The Kingdom is here: We experience it, we live in it and, through our vocations – literally our callings – we build it. Yet we also continue to encounter the enduring effects of sin in our personal lives and in the newspaper headlines.
The Advent season reminds us that, in spite of these enduring effects, we can and should engage our lives with boldness, eagerly awaiting in hope our full liberation from the bondage of sin. Someday, the lion will lay down with the lamb and swords will be beaten into plowshares and, in Paul’s words, “we will be changed.”
The baby Jesus, lying in the manger, is a powerful reminder that our hope is realized and that our wait is over. The Messiah lives and reigns!
Prayer: Heavenly Father, we thank you for Jesus, our hope. We ask that your kingdom would come and that your will would be done on earth as it is in heaven. Help us to wait on you with patience and a sense of expectancy. In Jesus name, Amen.
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