Season of Advent Pt.1 – Promise of Hope
Today, November 29th, is the first day of the Advent Season, the annual commemoration of Christians celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, the Son of God on December 25th (Christmas Day).
Advent season is observed and celebrated as a time of expectancy, a time of anticipation, a time of intimate preparation. We look for a promise of hope in the birth of Jesus at Christmas and the return of Christ our King at his Second Coming. Advent is a season of tremendous hope. Though Messiah has come, though Jesus has died and been raised to life, though the Holy Spirit presently lives within us, still an overwhelming sense of expectancy, anticipation and hope compels us to lift our heads toward heaven during the darkest of seasons.
It’s no secret that if we delve deep into the history, tradition, ritual and practice that accompanies the celebration of Advent, we find a wealth of information and differing expression. Add to this, each one of us may have in our own history, particular memories of celebrating the Advent of Christ in one way or another, either as a family or a gathered church.
For us here at Evergreen, we’ve intended to keep things simple during the holiday season. Simple yet no less intentional. Simple yet no less meaningful. Simple yet no less powerful. In fact, its under the most simple of circumstances we come to know our Lord Jesus in the gospels. Jesus is born into humble (or what we might call “simple”) circumstances. Jesus’ death is preceded by his telling followers to go out into the world under humble (or what we might call “simple”) preparation. Simple, but again, no less intentional, meaningful or powerful. The hope-filled promise of Emmanuel—God With Us.
It is with this same spirit that we welcome the Advent season. We can and must open up our hearts to a hope that is intentional, meaningful and powerful; a promise that is not seasonal but everlasting. Hear the heralding rally of the prophet Isaiah:
1)Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those in distress. In the past He humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future He will honor the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations:
2)The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death, a light has dawned.
3)You have enlarged the nation and increased its joy. The people rejoice before You as they rejoice at harvest time, as men rejoice in dividing the plunder.
4)For as in the day of Midian, You have shattered the yoke of their burden, the bar across their shoulders, and the rod of their oppressor.
5)For every trampling boot of battle and every garment rolled in blood will be burned as fuel for the fire.
6)For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government will be upon His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7)Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish and sustain it with justice and righteousness from that time and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of Hosts will accomplish this.