Advent is a time of pause and reflection as we prepare our hearts for the coming of Christ. This is my first time participating in Advent season and I hope my weekly posts on this platform encourages you to pause and reflect on the themes of hope, waiting, joy, and love.
Week Four: Love
This verse has been on my mind lately. I use it for self-reflection; if I'm stuck worrying, if I'm being irrational, or if I'm fearful, I realize that I'm not receiving from the Holy Spirit. I then pray; I ask for help, I ask for a sound mind, I ask for peace, I let Holy Spirit in and receive from Him and His power, not from my own strength.
With Jesus's coming, death, and resurrection, we were then gifted the Holy Spirit once Jesus ascended back up to heaven. It's this spirit inside of us that gives us a spirit of power, love, and a sound mind. We only see Jesus fearful and anxious in Scripture when He's praying in the Garden of Gethsemane. He's about to bear all of humanity's sins and be separated from God; even if it was just for a little while, it was a dreaded feeling. Jesus lived without sinning, but He still felt human emotions, and fear and anxiety are human. Jesus has never had to live without God until that moment. From the beginning, before creation, Jesus was with God, and while He was on earth He was with God.
Jesus experienced this so we didn't have to. A life without God is just like that; miserable, lifeless, aimless. When you don't have God you feel empty. Trying to do things on your own strength then failing and falling all alone. You lean on perishable things until you get a restock and you continue this cycle of needing to depend on its supply; whereas life with God is the fountain of life. His spring of water never ends, it's everlasting. And this experience continues into eternity. Thank you, Jesus, for coming. We celebrate You this season.
I am so grateful that we shared this time of reflection over Christ's coming, I hope it deepened your love and hope in Him.
Week Three: Joy
We rejoice because our savior has come. His coming and His defeat of death creates this internal joy in all of our hearts, because we know we're never alone, we are loved, and we are free.
We get to carry this joy with us everywhere. 2020 has been a challenging year; we can easily get wrapped up in disappointment, worry, fear, anger, or depression. Those feelings last for moments, but the joy in our hearts that God gives lasts forever. Other emotions come and go, but joy is everlasting.
"You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore." Psalm 16:11
If you haven't experienced this joy, ask the Lord to fill your heart with it. Like David prayed, "Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit." (Psalm 51:12)
"Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near." Philippians 4:4-5
"The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad; the desert shall rejoice and blossom like the crocus; it shall blossom abundantly and rejoice with joy and singing. The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it, the majesty of Carmel and Sharon. They shall see the glory of the LORD, the majesty of our God. Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees. Say to those who have an anxious heart, 'Be strong; fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you.' Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; then shall the lame man leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute sing for joy. For waters break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert" Isaiah 35:1-6.
Week Two: Waiting
One can be encouraged by someone's faith while they wait. Faith is tested in the waiting, and faith is built from the endurance in the waiting. And once you already have hope secure in your heart, it helps in the waiting.
We had to wait for our Savior to come. We had hope for His coming; we had prophecies memorized and passed down from generation to generation. Today, we get to celebrate His first coming and honor Him as our King. And now we wait again for His second coming.
Still, there were prophecies and promises that needed to be met before Christ's first coming. Life was still unfolding, history being made, and families be built. How are we preparing for His coming? Are we loving others, are we fulfilling our calling, are we inviting others to wait with us, are we sharing this hope?
What encourages us in the waiting is remembering who God is, what He has already done, and what He promises He will do. Remembering that He is only good, fights our battles for us, helps us, comforts us; always provides, strengthens, and encourages us in the most crucial moments of our lives. Wait with great anticipation.
"Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned, that she has received from the Lord's hand double for all her sins. A voice cries: 'In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain. And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” Isaiah 40:1-5
Week One: Hope
Let's settle down our hearts and reflect on the hope we hold onto for the coming of Christ.
When you've lived in darkness — the darkness of fear, worry, anxiety, pain, suffering, abuse, ignorance, hatred, envy, lies, and filth — hope is a light. It shines brightly in the dark, and it's hard to contain, it's hard to shut off. Jesus Christ is this hope. He gives life, joy, peace, stability, truth, love, and abundance. When you're hoping for a way out of darkness, hoping for a savior, you become so grateful to know that He has come, and He is coming.
"I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope" Psalm 130:5
"The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone." Isaiah 9:2