Stir us up, O Lord, to make ready for your only begotten Son. May we be able to serve you with purity of soul through the coming of him who lives and reigns. ~ Advent Prayer
The piling up is starting all over the place, a moving of things and people in preparation for a celebration. December has landed upon us with the heralding of sales and the presentation of all the newest must-haves, special shows, dinner parties, light festivals, and gatherings. Calendars are filling quick for the season’s showings.
It is the time of preparing. The time of getting ready for a celebration. It is a time of adding kindnesses, where people are more apt to express good will. As believers we need to be careful that we don’t count blessings as the world does, yet spill hope into the world we are living in as we prepare for the message His coming provides.
I have been thinking and pondering the message of this special time as I have been reading through the Word this week. The more time I spend thinking about this time of preparation, I find it is about giving away what is getting in the way that will help us make room for the Savior. The more I choose to diminish the piles that are tripping me up, rather than add to my overstocked life, the easier it will be to pass on the promise of Hope this season.
And I have been convicted, repeatedly, as I let my heart wander to the reason for the season. I have been cautioned to consider the power of reasoning hope to just a season, because it isn’t. Jesus is the reason to rejoice every single day. The Gospel is just as powerful any day of the year, yet this time of year opens hearts to hear the good news. It should excite awe inspired living because He is the purpose to our seeking and His birth is celebration material for sure.
He is the best gift. His entrance into our world opened the possibility of an Extra Ordinary life to the wise willing to seek His brightness in the dark night.
This time of waiting we are feeling deep in our spirits is the altar call bringing us close to the heart of the Father. It is the beckoning of the Holy, ripping in two the curtain that separates us from the eternal, charging us to replicate the dust-footed and healing-hand example of the Servant King: God the Son who became humanity clothed in divinity and walked roads of dirt to bring us to waters of righteousness. This is the purpose of the Advent journey which equips us to be gift extenders to a world needing hope vitamins in extreme dosage.
Soaking up Isaiah’s proclamation of hope this week is fitting since the 1st week of Advent is all about hope. The study of the plodding forward and preparing a way for the coming is a necessary reminder in a world of chaos and confusion.
HOPE must become our greatest commodity, next to love, of course, as we look to the message of the manger.
Look with me at Isaiah’s promptings to prepare our hearts:
Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. – Isaiah 7:14-16
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace, of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish with judgment and with justice from henceforth even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this. – Isaiah 9:6-7
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, and the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and fear of the LORD; and shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD; and he shall not judge after the sight of his eye, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears. But with righteousness shall he judge the poor and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: … And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious. – Isaiah 11:1-4,10
Repeatedly the Messianic prophet resonates a solemn consideration for hope to grow in our hearts at the expectation of Christ’s coming. With every Advent Season, faithful hearts make a choice to count days and cast off weights that are keeping us back from the cleansing His entrance will provide. This year, the more I look to His Word and reflect on the sadness in our world, I am longing for the simple gift of grace in the Advent Journey.
Simple extravagant grace… the piling of the weights that are holding me back from living fully in His presence so that each moment is presently full of His mercies, being hefted over onto the pile I am laying at the Cross. Advent leads us to make Christ our sole possession, not the things, agendas, and people we often cling to.
The beauty of advent is the appointment we make to meet around the light-stick that reminds us of His shining in our hearts. These layers that are being peeled away so that we can make room for Him to inhabit not only our hearts, but transform our lives.
Adventus. Ecce advenit Dominator Dominus.
-Advent. Behold the Lord the Ruler is come.
Hope expects more than the ordinary, it longs for the absurd.
This first week that leads us to expect something extraordinary is coming, drawing our attention away…to something better…something more. I am needing a lot of extraordinary absurd in my reality today, friends; a drastic change in the way I see the world. Instead of seeing the hopelessness and the loss, this year let’s look to the One who shall be our peace.(Micah 5:5) Let’s wait only upon the Lord as our expectation and find our hope built upon His Word.
I wait for the Lord, I expectantly wait and in His Word do I hope.
I am looking and waiting for the LORD more than watchmen for the morning, I say, more than watchmen for the morning.
O Israel, hope in the LORD!
Fro with the LORD there is mercy and loving-kindness, and with Him is plenteous redemption.
May you find time to pause in your preparing, to look for the hope of heaven as shines His glory bright, and be filled with wonder for the extraordinary grace He gives. May you long for the absurd love that God bestows through His Spirit upon every seeker who welcomes Him in.
I would love to share an Advent Journal I created with you. It is a gift for you.
Joining with Friends for the Journey
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