The Disappointment and Hope of Advent   7 comments

Each year we wait like Israel of old, reenacting the anticipation and longing, the hope and heartache of an oppressed people looking for the Messiah.  That night long ago changed everything… and changed nothing to the common eye.  The day after Jesus’ birth, the Israelites awoke to the same oppressive government, the same self-righteous religious leaders, the same troubles with which they lay down the night before.  Looking around them, nothing had changed.


We have our own heartache and hope, and we await our deliverance.   But unlike that night long ago, December 25 changes nothing.  We awake the morning after with an emotional hangover and face all the same sorrows we set aside for the holidays… except for a lot of extra trash, extra bills, and a long, cold, dark winter ahead.  When we call Christmas “advent,” which is to say “coming,” what exactly is coming…in our day, in 2016?  What are we expecting?

One day redemption will come, but like that first night, our world is still fractured.  As the shepherds trudged back to their sheep that night, nothing had changed around them… but everything had changed in them.  They still stubbed their toes in the dark, but aching feet could not detract from that history-smashing story of salvation into which they had tumbled, a story that recast their whole world.  Whether they held onto that vision so that their whole lives after were shaped by it or whether that vision slowly dimmed and became just an old tale told by their campfires is the same question that hangs over each of our journeys.

Our God is the same in our celebration and mourning, in our feasting and hungering, in our brokenness and healing: a loving, true, faithful, mighty, gracious God.  And he knows that both the shadow and light are essential to our continuing salvation.  As we are able, we embrace all that our hearts feel and know, believing that there is hope, that light will spring up for us, even if it delays until the final day.  Until then, we walk in the light of that first Christmas, a candle even on our darkest days.  He has come and our lives will never be the same.





Posted December 8, 2016 by janathangrace in Uncategorized

7 responses to “The Disappointment and Hope of Advent

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  1. Excellent Christmas reflections, my friend. Thank you. Christ in us is, indeed, still the hope of glory!

  2. Thank you for a wonderful Christmas meditation. You capture the darkness of our realities as well as the light of our souls and the presence of our beloved God permeating both.

  3. Thank you!

  4. Yes!! He said, “I AM the Light of the world!”
    Janathan your words express feelings
    that strike a chord in all our hearts…!

    Pat Major

  5. Thinking about you this morning. In case you don’t write before Christmas. Merry Christmas!

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