Hello! Here are some Advent thoughts that I’ve been pondering …
I love Christmas don’t get me wrong – the joy and the family togetherness. Plus getting presents is pretty fun! However, my favourite part of the winter season is Advent. It’s a special time of anticipation. Of waiting and hoping.
In a way, it’s quite similar to Holy Saturday (the day before Easter Sunday) but better. The disciples after Jesus’ death on Good Friday, didn’t know He was coming back. They were devastated and scared – unsure of what was going to happen next. Being a Christian isn’t always easy … actually, it’s pretty hard most of the time. Faith is difficult when life is difficult, however even in the midst of the worst situations, there is a glimmer of light in the darkness. Advent reminds us that God has an overarching plan of good for our lives and for the future of humanity.
We often read the nativity story by rote. We know the sequence of events & what happens to who when. But at the time, the main characters didn’t know what was going to happen. All they could do was wait and trust in God.
After Mary was told that she had been chosen to give birth to the Messiah (something the Jewish people had been waiting for, for over 400+ years), she had to tell people what was happening, as it’s pretty hard to hide being pregnant! It must have been so difficult to have that conversation – how did her family react when she first told them? Did they believe her?
We know Joseph (her fiance) didn’t & his first idea was to marry Mary and then divorce her quietly at a later date. Which may seem a bit harsh to us in the 21st Century, but in Biblical times, having sex before getting marriage & being an unwed pregnant teenager was a stoning-to-death worthy offense. So it might not seem like it to us, but Joseph was actually trying to protect Mary.
So if Joseph didn’t believe the girl he loved, we can imagine how everyone else in her village reacted to the news! I wonder if they laughed or thought she was lying? Were they angry that she claimed to have seen an angel? Because why would God send an angel to speak to a (probably illiterate) peasant girl from an unimportant family from an unimportant town like Nazareth?
Obviously, we know why, that because Mary was going to marry Joseph it meant that Jesus would be born into the ‘House of David’. Something foretold by the Prophet Isaiah over 700 years before.
Side note: there is quite a lot of debate about whether this and other Messianic prophecies actually point to Jesus as the Messiah, but I’ll let you research that on your own & come to your own conclusions. See http://ow.ly/xHsw30hmRNU.
I wonder how Mary felt. Did she doubt herself? Was she scared? During those difficult nine months, how did she cope from day to day? All she could do was wait for God’s plan to unfold and trust that He would fulfill His promise to her.
Waiting is hard. Whether we are waiting for Christmas or waiting for an answer to prayer; the fear, frustration & longing are the same. In the moment it’s hard to see God moving in your life, and it’s only later we can look back and see what God was actually doing.
So hold on tight, all of you who are in difficult situations, waiting and hoping and longing for an answer to prayer. Hold on tight to the promises of God, and If you don’t know what God has promised, why don’t you ask Him?
God sent His only son Jesus to be the hope and light of the world, a promise that things were going to change. That He was doing a new thing (which you can read all about in the Gospels.)
Before returning to heaven, Jesus told His disciples that He would be coming back – He promised that though the world would continue to be difficult and dark for a time, there was light at the end of the tunnel.
Unfortunately, he didn’t specify when! Matthew 24:36 says “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the son, but the Father only.”
So we wait, and as we wait, we remember that God who sent His son to earth to die for our sins, has promised to come again in glory. We cling to that hope and trust that the light of the world is with us, and dwells within us in the meantime.