This year has been marked with crisis and challenges that have rocked our world and community. It is easy to allow situations and circumstances to distract us from the expectancy and promise that Advent season brings to us as believers. The wars in the Middle East and Ukraine, the mass shootings in our country, and the tragic loss of life has rocked us to the core. The hurt and the pain are very real; nevertheless, God’s Word reminds us that God’s love never fails us even in the darkest of circumstances.
Isaiah 40:11 reminds us that God gathers God’s lambs close to God’s heart and gently leads us. Oh, how we need this promise in a world that will never make sense to our human understanding.
In 2006, I read an article in the Christian Century about a small group of Christians in Beirut, Lebanon, faithfully lighting the candles of their Advent wreath despite the dangerous, political chaos in their lives. Today, the Middle East could still serve as a stark metaphor for Advent: God’s people are waiting, looking for concrete signs of God’s promised future, desperate for peace. As the pastor in Lebanon led his people in lighting their Advent candles, as we light our Advent candles, we are reminded by each bright flame that God is imagining our deliverance, our redemption, our return to God’s peaceable kingdom — even when we are too exhausted, too depleted to imagine it for ourselves. This Advent, with Christians around the world, let us proclaim the Good News and bear witness to the unfailing, unfading hope, peace, joy, and love of God’s promises.
My hope for all of us during this Advent season is that we will cling to the true source of hope for all. The trials and troubles of this world are real; however, the promise of a life of peace is our comfort and the source of our daily strength.
See you in church,