The journey from the Thanksgiving Table to the simple extravagance of the stable represents expectation, anticipation and preparation. Expectation for WHO Christ is, WHAT He has done, and ALL he is yet to do. It is a journey that we all should take, with reverent hearts for the promise that it represents. Advent shows us His story through the history of his coming to the future of His return.
The Symbols of Advent show us the pieces of the story, the traveling, the resting, the bringing forth, the promise of eternity in the birth of a child, A Holy Child … Emmanuel.
Just saying the name brings peace… it is no wonder, it is a plea for God to come into our midst.
Emmanuel! God is with us. What a precious gift we have been given that the Lord of All Creation would make his habitation with us, and unfortunately, it is all too easy to miss. It is easy to forget why we are called to expect, anticipate, and prepare for the King’s coming.
This advent journey is a checking of our hearts. We are to guard this place that Christ is meant to dwell with fierceness; with urgency. Our hearts were created for one purpose, to hold the living God of heaven close, to breathe in His Presence with every beat of our hearts and be one with Him in everything we do. ( 1 Cor 10:31)
This longing you wear, deep in your heart(or out on your sleeve), do you know that it has purpose? Do you realize it is intentionally placed within you so that you recognize your soul’s requirement?
He is the answer to this longing and our journey starts with the thankful heart.
Even in the vacuum of our soul this awareness of our emptiness should lead us to thankfulness because there is a solution to our vacancy.
There is a filling for our vessel that will entreat every crack, every chip, and every porous surface of our soul. Christ Alone is the answer and Advent is a reminder that we are to purge from our hearts anything that has taken up residency. And the Holy Spirit, being fully aware of this, knowing that we have something to look forward to, meets our hesitant hearts with a gentle nudge forward directing us to move from the table where we have been congregating in thought onto the road that leads us to the Stable of Hope.
As we move from the table of provision, the thanksgiving setting where our appetites have been stirred and we can then start our journey to the Stable of Expectant Hope, Anticipated Joy, Restoring Love, and Delivered Peace.
First we need to ignite the Candle of Light in our hearts to carry on the journey : Advent Traditions.
Some of my favorite advent celebrations focus on lighting candles, reading his Word, and coming daily to that place of expecting and anticipating the restoration and deliverance that only Christ can bring.
This year I have carried it over from our evening worship time to my morning quiet time. I have found myself sitting in the still of the morning waiting with the candles lit, contemplating this journey to the stable. The more I attempt to move forward on this excursion to grace’s beginnings, the more I long to follow the star and shed the weight that has held me back. I am packing my bags for this journey, friends, filling them with eager hope that I will not be delayed in the moments of His arrival.
Have you ever thought about that? The preparing we must do to wait for His entrance into our living?
Sometimes I do forget, getting caught up in the daily agendas; and I let the cobwebs gather. I fail to clean it out the spaces that have been empty, void of His light they can be forgotten and collect the dust of neglect. Yet, here, this journey to the stable, the picking up my cross daily to follow hard after Him, it is a reminder to pursue the path of diligence by looking to the true light, continually guiding my footsteps closer and closer to the promise and causing me to also attend to those shadowed places in my soul.
The promise of advent is hope, joy, love and peace. The power of advent embraces the promise and entreats us to wait.
Sometimes that also means that our journey must halt as we wait for Him to guide us forward. When we set aside time to wait upon God, we are always refreshed in Hope.
My soul, wait only on God; for my expectation is from Him. He only is my rock and my salvation: he is my defense; I shall not be moved. In God is my salvation and my glory; the rock of my strength, and my refuge is in God. -Psalm 62:5-7
I wait for the Lord, my soul does wait, and in His Word do I hope. -Psalm 130:5
This first week of advent is about Hope. We all need to assemble close here, in this hope that can never be deferred, built up upon the solid foundation of truth. Our hope candle represents the spark of light that burns within each of us as we approach the throne of grace and seek the one who set aside the crown of glory for the swaddling cloth and who moved from a throne of righteousness to the simple wooden trough.
His birth was awaited by those who chose to hold onto hope and to believe in the promise that God would always be faithful to His Word.
And friends, it is all about the journey; the one we take together. I would LOVE to have you join me as we wait in His Word this week, looking for the expectation of the fulfilled promise. He tells us in His Word, the real story is there, over and over. It is repeated throughout scripture, all the plans and purposes of the Father are there for us to read. He has already given us the good news, and He has sent to us the missive of Hope bound up in the package of His Son. (John 1)
Even the angels and the cosmos couldn’t contain their praise when He left heaven and was laid in a manger.
Our journey to the stable starts as we spend time in the words from radical writers of Truth: Isaiah and Paul, Jeremiah and Micah, Matthew and Luke. They left us pieces of the story, but they all resonate together. They connect and intersect, revealing that there is consistency and reliability here for us to study and to believe.
- Let’s pause in the Word together, and prepare for His coming.
- Let’s look at the story of hope meant for our hearts, meant to share and announce like the angles, the star and the wise men who sought the King.
Let’s start at Hope.
Romans 15 tells us about the hope that creates expectancy, which Isaiah spoke of when he told of the root that would grow, the branch that would bear fruit in Isaiah 11.
And again, Isaiah said, There shall be a root of Jesse, and he that shall rise to reign over the Gentiles; in him shall the Gentiles trust. Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost. –Romans 15:12-13
And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding,the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD – Isaiah 11:1-2
The Old Testament and the New, together testify of His coming. They tell us to wait with expectant hope. (Psalm 62:5) As we wait, we are renewed by His strengthening so that we can both walk and run the path ahead of us.(Is 40:31) Hope becomes the beacon of light which sustains us in our waiting, because we know that in His mercy there is full redemption.(Psalm 130:5-8) As Christ is revealed, the product of waiting in hope is always found in His grace. (1 Peter 1:13) Ultimately, revealing the message of peace amidst the chaos, a message that ensures that what we hope for is not in vain.(Micah 5:5) Our waiting, looking to His light, reflects His light by burning the wick of our living in the fullness of His flame. Through this we are changed; we are prepared for His coming.
This week as you wait and prepare for His arrival, would you consider the importance on focusing on the simple? Would you be willing let the beauty of the season, His coming, be the light that shines in your preparation moments?
Journal through Advent:
I have created an advent journal page to keep track of some of the special blessings I am finding as I camp out in His Word waiting for His arrival, for His coming to shed light on my living. Please feel free to download it here: Journey to the Stable Advent Journal. You can use it for the entire 4 weeks of your advent journey. Check back each week as I discuss the main idea of each week’s topic on Tuesday or Wednesday of each week.
Maybe you have not journaled through the season of Advent before, but can I encourage you to start a new tradition as you await His coming?
Praying for expectant hope to rise up within your hearts as you prepare for the Peace and Joy that His arrival brings.
Linking up with friends for the journey:
SDG Gathering, MADM, Playdates with God, Unite, Blog it Forward,#TellHisSTory, CoffeeforyourHeart, Wednesday Prayer Girls, Three Word Wednesday, Thought Provoking Thursdays, Fellowship Fridays, Missional Women, Faith and Fellowship Blog Hop,Counting My Blessings, Saturday Soiree, Give Me Grace, Fellowship Friday