Expectation…

“But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior.” ‭‭Philippians‬ ‭3:20‬ NLT

So far I’ve written about anticipation of and preparation for this Season. And maybe it’s because I like words, and I like the way that words work together, that I want to write about expectation tonight.

It seems I have an “ation” series going on right now.

Expectation is joyful confidence in God. Knowing that God will show up, that God will provide, that God will protect, that God will deliver.

Not just hoping that God will do these things, but expecting it. Being joyfully confident that God is able, more than able.

That is how we move towards this Season – with joyful confidence in God’s goodness; with expectation for the coming of the Messiah.

This Advent, may you be joyfully confident that God is on the move, that the Baby born in Bethlehem is still among us now, that our celebrations draw us closer to Him and transform us into his followers.

Preparation…

 ‘I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant,whom you desire, will come,’ says the Lord Almighty.

Malachi 3:1 NIV

 

I shouldn’t be surprised, but I am. I come across a verse in the Scriptures that I haven’t read in a while and it clearly speaks to me about Jesus. It’s in the Old Testament, long before Jesus was born. There are many passages I know and love that speak to Jesus’ coming long before his birth. But this one surprises me because I haven’t used it in the Christmas Eve worship services, I haven’t seen it on Christmas cards and ornaments. I must have read it before, but I didn’t SEE it until now.

God’s word does this to me with some regularity – it surprises me with things I’ve read before, but am now seeing for the first time.

It shouldn’t surprise me, because God was preparing the world for His Son long before Mary and Joseph came on the scene. For ages, God patiently laid the foundation. Speaking through his prophets, soften the hearts of humanity, preparing the way.

Before any celebration, the preparation must take place. And God was planning on throwing a great celebration, one quiet night in Bethlehem.

This Advent, may you be surprised by God’s word. May you see what you’d read before for the first time. May you prepare to celebrate, and may your preparations bring you closer to the One we celebrate.

 

Anticipation…

But as for me, I will watch expectantly for the Lord;
I will wait for the God of my salvation.
My God will hear me.  (Micah 7:7 NASB)

For a few weeks now, the sights and sounds and signs of the Christmas Season have been amping up. The Santa Clause Parades, the Bazaars at local churches, the decorations and lights being hung in the community…all these little Christmas moments.

Each year as we turn toward Advent, I get excited. I love this Season. I love the wonder of the story, the beauty of it. I love the decorations and the songs. I love contemplating the right gifts to give friends and family. I love peppermint flavouring and a little extra sparkle all around.

This is not always the case for those of us who work in the church. There are many pressures that go along with this Season, many expectations to be met, extra work to be done. And that can make for grumpy, exhausted and stressed out clergy.

I decided a long time ago that this would not be my story. That I would go out of my way to find joy in this season, to forgive myself if I failed to meet an expectation or two (to decide that I’d just let go of some expectations that I might have of myself), and to take rest (extra rest, when needed).

I didn’t know it at the time, but this decision would be one that would serve me well throughout the Advents to come. I truly enjoy this Season, and all that it brings with it.

Part of my enjoyment has to do with blogging regularly – writing (almost, see above comment about forgiving myself when I fail to meet an expectation) daily about the story of Christ’s birth keeps me in touch with the real reason for this Season.

So, all of that to say, I am beginning my Advent blog today. In anticipation of the Advent Sunday of Hope which officially begins the Season. It’s time, and I’m ready.

May you, also enjoy this Season. May you know the hope, peace, love and joy that the Baby born in Bethlehem imparts to human hearts.