So apparently the Christian church community has decided to call the time of December prior to Christmas Advent. I remember when I was a kid hearing many sermons in church about Advent and really having no idea what it meant.
Still to this day, the word Advent does not personally carry a lot of meaning. Maybe I would think, “Advent, that means before Christmas and nothing more.”
What I have come to learn is that we can choose for Advent to simply mean “before Christmas” and nothing more or we can choose to find in this time, reasons to bolster our hope in the Lord.
The Israelites living under Roman occupation in the first century were waiting for a savior,for their Messiah, their deliverer. They were waiting for the promised one to come and make all things right. And lo and behold, an angel appeared to Mary who tells her she will have a son though she is a virgin. And Mary listened and obeyed God and her baby’s name was Jesus.
Living under Roman rule was a constant struggle for the first century Jew. The elders in the communities would have remembered the hero Judas the Maccabee, who valiantly removed the Grecian army from the land. During this time the Jews enjoyed one hundred years of sovereignty in Israel. The people were abused and micromanaged and they longed for when all would be made right.
Today in Thompson we can see that not all things are right. There are hurting people in our community. We can see that there are broken families and there are broken marriages. And I know that we all long for things to be made right. We long for the time when we will not need to deal with the sin in our lives that cause harm to others that we love.
There’s a verse in the Bible that says, “For what I do is not the good I want to do: no, the evil I do not want to do-this I keep on doing” (Rom 7:19). We all know what the right thing is to do, but apart from Christ we are controlled by sin; which causes things to be not right.
I said before that there are things we can learn and find in Advent if we choose to. Romans 8:23 from the Bible says “we groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies”. This is our hope. This is what Advent is supposed to point us to. The hope that we have in Jesus is that we will be delivered from sin in our lives and become adopted as children of God.
Right now we live in the tension of both realities. Right now we see the brokenness of the world caused by sin. But also, if we believe in Jesus, we are His children. In this current age, both are simultaneously true. So we wait for redemption, for full deliverance.
I had a friend who I was messaging one Christmas recently and he said “we got love for Christmas.” And I thought how true is that; what a wonderful summary. The trimmings of Christmas pass away and are forgotten, but love is felt and remembered. I hope you are encouraged the same way that I have been.
Remember, we got love for Christmas!
Travis Harms serves locally with InterAct Ministries of Canada and Midway Bible Camp.