Advent is upon us. It’s time to celebrate and prepare our hearts for the coming of the King of Kings. In my mind, the Advent readings, candles, and music serve as a giant pause button. That pause tells me to close my computer, hide my to-do list, and stop with the shopping and decorating. The pause helps me reclaim peace in the midst of busy.
Usually I read through two Advent devotional booklets during the season. But this year is different… not intentionally, it just worked out that way.
I’ve been reading through the Bible for the last two years and am just about to finish up this time around. Ordinarily I would take a break for Advent, but I’m so close to the finish line. That’s how I found myself reading Revelation chapters 1-2 yesterday morning.
My Advent reading appears to be the book of Revelation. I’ll admit, the thought was a little deflating until I found the narrative of Scripture swirling all around me – reminding me that all of the pieces point to the same promise:
“Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come…” (Revelation 1:4)
“I am the Alpha and the Omega,’ says the LORD God, ‘Who is, and who was, and who is to come…” (Revelation 1:8)
On Sunday morning the candle of promise was lit in our small church sanctuary and our pastor shared from the lyrics of the beautiful hymn, “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.” Not only has the song been in my head for three days, but the promise of God with us replays as well.
The main theme of the sermon: “Through faith in Jesus – God was, and is, and will be with us.”
Advent is the promise of His presence. God is with us. This was the comfort provided to a fearful Mary, a worried Joseph, terrified shepherds, and doubting disciples. Time and again the answer, the hope of all our fears, is met in the promise of God’s presence.
Confession: I have yet to play a single Christmas song in my home. There’s not a stitch of decor in my house. It’s 80 degrees outside. It doesn’t feel like Christmas.
But the promise running through the Gospel story rings clear this morning. The truth of God’s presence trumps my wandering feelings. God is with us.
“The angel went to her and said, ‘Greetings, you who are highly favored. The LORD is with you.” (Luke 1:28)
This is the theme for my reading and writing this season. I welcome you to join me.