Recently I was asked by someone what the advent season was – and to be honest, I didn’t quite know how to respond to her. I know that I love it and I know that it is in preparation for Christmas.
What is Advent? Advent is a season of expectation and preparation. The Lord is coming and we are yearning for his arrival that will change the world. The term literally means “coming” and was used in the preparation for the coming of a great person or a king. Advent gives us a month to fully prepare our hearts and our minds for the coming of our saving King.
The first advent’s focus is on hope. A couple weeks ago I touched on the epidemic that is sweeping across the world: the epidemic of hopelessness.
Hopelessness is a condition that eats away at the soul of man and rips him apart from the God who sent His son to save him. For hopelessness is the loss of future, the loss of present, and the collapse to self-centered torment. Many put on the mask of survival only to have the undercurrent of hopelessness eroding who they are and who they were meant to be in Christ.
There is hope. Advent is the season of hope. Our savior is coming. The cure for this epidemic is simple because it only takes a flicker of hope to set the contagious flames afire in our souls. The flames that will heal the damage of the dark hopelessness.
Hopeless people are everywhere. I wouldn’t be surprised if the person sitting next to you on Sunday morning was infected. It’s the weight of the fallen world and Satan’s tool of separation. This isn’t a new thing. Hopelessness has been around forever. Before the arrival of Jesus, the chosen people cried out for that hope, that saving Grace called Emmanuel. We sing the song every year – have you ever focused on the lyrics?
O come, O come Emmanuel and ransom captive Israel that mourns in lonely exile here until the Son of God appear.
Wow, the power of these words shakes me to the core. I can image the people of Israel, on their knees begging for help. They cry out to their God who they have faith is there but they are captive. Imagine the hopelessness of being captive and exiled and having the loss of present and future. Israel is begging God to pay their ransom, to free them because they mourn deeply in being exiled.
Their only hope is the Son of God’s birth. Their only hope is a prophecy of the coming King. So with hope they rejoice knowing that one day, Emmanuel will come and will save them but when that will be no one knew.
God heard their cry, He knew their pain and He listened. Even though He knew the fate of His son would be torment and death, He was willing to sacrifice Jesus, to pay that ransom and to save His people…to save me. This is the season of hope. For God paid it all and the flicker of hope is ignited in the birth of his Son, Jesus.
Today, if you find yourself in a hopeless situation know that this advent marks the coming of the King. We have hope in Christ and he is coming! Rejoice! Hope is coming!
This month, I pray that everyone can help spread hope to all who suffer from this epidemic. For there is hope and it can be freely given to all who need it, reach out and help bring life back to the world’s hopeless and helpless.
O come, O come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear.
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.