Waiting with Joy and Hope in the Advent Season
“Grandma is coming!” “Santa is coming!” Children are great anticipators, and are easily swept up into awaiting “comings” with joy and enthusiasm, sticking little noses against frosty windows and bouncing up and down with excitement on Christmas Eve. We can learn something from a child’s excited anticipation in this season of Advent.
The word Advent is actually an anglicized version of the Latin word “adventus”, which means “coming”. It is a season of waiting and expectation, of looking hopefully like little children watching for grandma’s headlights or Santa’s sleigh.
We can learn from children because as we grow older, we forget about the joy of the coming, and focus instead on the long and painful wait. We wait for the weekend, for medical test results and important phone calls. Waiting is tedious and what we wait for isn’t as magical anymore – it’s much less fun to wait for our tires to be rotated than it is to wait for Grandma to arrive.
This is why I love Advent, and the Christmas season. Because it reminds me that our waits can be holy and hopeful, full of joy and anticipation, not simply a long, boring, often painful season.
In Advent, we are reminded of the many generations who waited for Messiah.
We are called to rejoice in our daily waits and remember our unique place in history. For we have a Messiah, a Savior, which is Christ the Lord, God come to us.
My husband and I are in a tangible season of waiting, as we wait to adopt our first child. Patience may be a virtue, but fear and anger are more often my honest emotions in the quiet of the night, when I doubt if God is listening, or if he cares about the desires of my heart. We know that he has called us to adopt, just as Israel knew they were chosen by God, but that doesn’t make our wait seem shorter or our unknowns less agonizing.
Of course, as these feelings of fear and frustration come in this holy season of Advent, I know this is the season of coming – of promises fulfilled and hope renewed. I am not in a lonely and pointless season of empty waiting, but rather in a time of hopeful, faithful anticipation, yearning for the coming of Christ and the coming of my child; the coming of the God “who is making all things new” (Revelation 21:5).
Maybe you also are in a season of waiting or seeming endlessness. Maybe you’ve also lost the childlike wonder of “coming” and instead are stuck in the dreary wait. My friend, we are not the only ones to feel this way.
The book of Isaiah gives us insight into the despair of a wayward and rebellious people, the unending love of God, and the hope of Messiah. I’ve been reading the promised Messiah passages over and over as I cling to promises in this season of Advent. I encourage you to read these slowly and let them speak to your heart.
Isaiah 41:8-10: “But you, Israel, my servant,
Jacob, whom I have chosen,
the offspring of Abraham, my friend;
you whom I took from the ends of the earth,
and called from its farthest corners,
saying to you, ‘You are my servant,
I have chosen you and not cast you off’;
fear not, for I am with you;
be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
Isaiah 52:9-11: “Break forth together into singing,
you waste places of Jerusalem,
for the Lord has comforted his people;
he has redeemed Jerusalem.
The Lord has bared his holy arm
before the eyes of all the nations,
and all the ends of the earth shall see
the salvation of our God.”
Isaiah 54:1-3: “Sing, O barren one, who did not bear;
break forth into singing and cry aloud,
you who have not been in labor!
For the children of the desolate one will be more
than the children of her who is married,” says the Lord.
“Enlarge the place of your tent,
and let the curtains of your habitations be stretched out;
do not hold back; lengthen your cords
and strengthen your stakes.
For you will spread abroad to the right and to the left,
and your offspring will possess the nations
and will people the desolate cities.”
These promises bring tears to my eyes and hope to my heart because I know they were and are fulfilled.
At Christmas, we celebrate a God who sees our deepest needs and looks upon us with compassion, even when we fear and fail.
We celebrate a God who comforts, redeems and holds true to his promises. We celebrate a Savior who is “a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief” (Isaiah 53:3) who did not stay far away from us, but who came into this broken world and loved us despite our failings.
This Advent, I am pressing my nose against the windowpane with childlike abandon, looking excitedly for the coming of Christ and promises fulfilled. I am going to leap into Christmastime with joy, knowing that I am deeply loved by a God who would come to Earth as a tiny child to rescue us, who has everlasting love and compassion on us (Isaiah 54:8).
Will you join me? Let’s show the world a Christmas season of beautiful anticipation, and cling to God’s promises is we celebrate his coming; this time of precious, hopeful, joyous Advent, even as we wait.
Share with us in the comments
This year during Advent, what are you waiting for, and how can we pray for you?