Advent Always

Picture by Livingtools
What? A Christmas post in September? I'll get to that in a minute, but for now I want to entertain you with one of my personal flaws (aside from the bald head).

If I am going to be completely honest with you, I am pathetic when it comes to hope. Not in the sense that I have a nagging, ever persistent storm cloud of hopelessness. Rather in the competitive sense - where in if I cannot detect one shred of hope left, then I throw in my towel and am ready to go home.  It is perhaps one of my least admirable attributes (one of many) and not something I usually share with the public.

However,  I stumbled across a different perspective of all too familiar Christmas tradition that challenges my hope in every aspect of the word. Having grown up in a Protestant faith, every Christmas season, the church (collective) went into a season of preparing for the coming celebration of Christ birth. We lit candles, had several weeks of sermons lined up that lead us into the holiday festivals, ever reminding us that He is the Reason for the Season, and the worship portion of service transformed into a Christmas soundtrack playing the classic holiday hymns. It was Advent .... commercialized, packaged with good intent, but falling ever so short of the first Advent.

The first Advent start roughly 700 years before Yeshua ever set foot on earth. It was then that Israel found herself in a great deal of despair, with one invasion after another stripping them of hope, while they continued in the downward spiral of disobedience and lack of faith in God, their Father.  Then the prophet Isaiah stepped forward with an incredible promise of a Messiah, that would save and redeem Israel:

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

This started a progressive hope of the birth of a savior, messiah, warrior king.  It is that same spirit of anticipation that carried the shepherds to the manger and ultimately to Christ himself. And this is why Advent is celebrated each year during the Christmas season - a revisitation to the exciting time of Christ birth.

I think the real power behind Advent has nothing to do with birth of Christ, but rather the ascension of Christ to the right side of the Father's throne.  For us, Yeshua has already come, established His kingdom and left. Yet there is an ever present and authentic anticipation tied to the promise He spelled out for us in John 14:

“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.

This is Advent! An always present hope that Christ is coming again and it shapes our malleable faith, our every move in Him.  We fix our eyes on the prize laid before us and continue the good work because we believe  what Christ said  2000 years ago is still just applicable and around the corner as the disciples beleived when they first heard the words fall of his lips. And if Yeshua is not a liar, then we must live our lives accordingly, allowing Christ to become our redemption story as a precursor to the greatest Advent the world has ever seen.  The season never stopped!  It is still going day in and day out in the lives of His disciples.