Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Advent Reflections

i loved the following post from my friend, Esther. You can check out her blog here.

Advent means coming. In the church calendar, it is the four weeks before Christmas when we are invited to slow down and prepare our hearts for the coming of our Lord. The last few years, I have been really challenged to resist our consumeristic culture and the pressure to buy "stuff" for Christmas. To be honest, I haven't been completely successful. But I found this cool site the other day of others who are also trying to make Advent and Christmas more meaningful this year by keeping the focus on Christ. Their challenge is for me and you to buy one less gift this year and give that money to those in need. And rather than just buying more stuff for our family and friends, they ask us to consider giving relational gifts--the gift of our time. Check out Advent Conspiracy! Below is something I wrote for an Advent devotional. I hope that you will take time this Advent to truly prepare your heart for Jesus.

“He reached down from on high, he took me; he drew me out of mighty waters…He brought me out into a broad place; he delivered me, because he delighted in me.” Psalm 18:16, 19

Advent is about waiting. I admit I am not good at waiting. I am a very impatient person. When a car in front of me is driving below the speed limit, or the check-out line at the grocery store is stalled because of a price check, I get frustrated. Having to wait seems to be a waste of my time. But the season of Advent reminds me that in God’s kingdom, waiting is a holy practice.

There are many times in life when we have to wait, not knowing the outcome of our waiting. As I enter this Advent on unexpected bedrest, I am uncertain if my babies will be born early and face health risks. Others may be in a time of waiting because a diagnosis for a serious illness was given, a job was lost, a relationship was hurt, or because the economy turned sour. Like the psalmist, we may feel like we are drowning in mighty waters, wondering how long we have to wait until we are rescued from our situation.

It is not the waiting that is holy, but how we wait. Advent reminds us that we have a Savior who came down from heaven to deliver us from sin. But because we still live in a world that is full of evil, we are waiting and trusting that Jesus will come again in final victory to rescue us once and for all. We can wait with hope, putting our faith in the One who promises to bring us out into a broad place because he delights in us.

This kind of waiting—with hope and expectation that God will keep his promises—teaches us patience. It tests our faith. It spurs us on to work toward the vision of God’s future kingdom. Most of all, it grows our love for our Savior who is with us in the midst of our waiting. This Advent, practice holy waiting. Instead of impatience and frustration, wait with hope and expectation, trusting in the Lord, our rock, our fortress, our deliverer, our God in whom we take refuge!

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