O LORD, you are my God;
I will exalt you; I will praise your name,
for you have done wonderful things,
planes formed of old, faithful and sure.
He will swallow up death forever;
and the LORD GOD will wipe away tears from all faces,
and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth,
It will be said on that day;
“Behold, that is our God; we have waited for him,
that he might save us.
This is the LORD; we have waited for him;
let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.” (Isaiah 25:1, 8-9)
There is nothing like the excitement of children around the holidays. Just the other day while on a video call with my niece, she excitedly showed me a count-down chain she and my nephew had just finished creating. She explained how each little paper circle represented a day of school they must complete before they get to start Christmas break. Christmastime is almost here, and she can’t wait.
Likewise, the Christmas season stirs up a variety of emotions in adults as well. Gathering with family and friends can bring us much joy, laughter, and gratitude. But the season can also bring painful memories and tears as we grieve those who won’t celebrate the holidays with us this year. Hard emotions born from life lived in a fallen world often compete with the joy of the season—emotions such as grief, fear, doubt, weariness, loneliness, cynicism, or despair. They may wrestle for our affections and attempt to steal our hope and joy. But Advent knows better!
The season of Advent is a time of expectation; historically, it has been a time set apart to focus on the second coming of our King Jesus. It is a time to look at passages like that of Isaiah 25 and be reminded that we are not alone in our longings; we are far from alone. We stand on the shoulders of generations of faithful men and women who have come before us and today we are surrounded by others who also long for God to make good on his promises. We, like Isaiah wait for him. We look forward to the day when Christ will return to make all things new. Advent is about remembering Christ’s work in the past and expectantly waiting for his promised future, even as we lament the pain and brokenness we experience all around us.
This year, amidst the feasting, celebration, work, finals, and travel of this busy season, may Advent be a time of rest and reflection. A time to remember that the final battle has been won, that our LORD will return. May it remind us that Hope is worth it, that Joy is real, and that Peace will come. That one day, “He will swallow up death forever; and the LORD GOD will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth” (Isa. 25:8). This year let our songs reflect the blessing and joy of our salvation. Let us stand together, even as we await his promised return, and sing:
Joy to the world! the Lord is come;
Let earth receive her King;
No more let sins and sorrows grow, Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make his blessings flow, Far as the curse is found!
Editor’s Note: Becky Kiern invites you to rest and reflect through her Advent devotional titled, Let Earth Receive Her King. It contains 25 days of guided Bible reading, prayer, and reflection. Chapter excerpts and purchase information can be found on her website at https://beckykiern.com/advent-devotional
Photo by Sixteen Miles Out on Unsplash