Saturday, December 4, 2010

Hope: a joyful expectation

If you have been following my regular blog, you might have noticed the sparseness of posts. It is not that I don't want to write, I just haven't had the inspiration lately. Already this has seeped into my Advent blog. I apologize. 

One of my favorite seasons of the year is Advent. But this year, some how, I am not "feeling it." According to the Advent wreath this theme does not come up for another couple weeks, but for the last week or so I have been praying for JOY. Joy that surpasses my circumstances and my surroundings. A Joy only found in Christ.

It's been a slow process, but the other day during my small group, and idea popped into my head. A friend and I lead a small group for our church that is centered on prayer. Each week the attendees fill out index cards with their prayer requests and then we redistribute them to pray for each other. Last week was the final session, so I handed back the cards from previous weeks and asked everyone to share the answers God had given. It was interesting, going around the room. Many of us had prayed long-term prayers and had not yet heard a "BAM" answer the Lord. And it got us thinking . . . Even when we don't see the "BAM" answers, our faith has proved that God's hand is indeed at work-- most evidently in our hearts as we learn to trust Him more.

I wonder if the people of God understood this (approximately 3000-4000 years ago) as they were waiting for redemption, for a messiah. Way back in the Garden, the Lord spoke of One who would come to crush the Serpent's head (Genesis 3:15). And all through the Old Testament prophets spoke of One who would come-- to rule over Israel (Micah 5:2), to be Immanuel, God with Us (Isaiah 7:14). But to wait so long for this "BAM" answer from God? I think none of us have the faith to wait 4000 years for anything. But it was in fact the lineage of expectation that the people of God passed down from generation to generation. There were, unfortunately, quite a few generations in the middle who did not adhere to the covenants of God, but the Lord's promises were secure.

One quiet night in the fields of Bethlehem the Lord finally proclaimed through a heavenly choir: "BAM! Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord!" (Luke 2:10-11)

This first week of Advent has been about Hope. Hope makes me think of the seasons. There are calendar seasons and life seasons-- each pointing us towards something. An expectation of what is to come. I know that for me, this is what some would call a "dry" season in my life. I'm waiting on the Lord for quite a few things. But the hope is that this is just a season. It will eventually fade into the next. And I will look back and probably wonder why I was so stressed and faithless. As our life seasons trail along (sometimes at a tortoise's pace) the calendar year keeps plowing ahead. Advent will happen whether my heart is ready for it or not. I just pray that I will be able to live in hope--in joyful expectation of Christ's birth and Life with us.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for your blog Becca! It always gives me something new and interesting to think about...I wonder if it was difficult to switch from waiting for God to BAM God answers prayer.


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