We are in week 2 of Advent. Advent is probably my most favorite liturgical season! It’s full of hope and anticipation as we await the coming birth of Jesus.
Last night, 3 of my closest friends and I attended Awaited at Crossroads Community Church in Cincinnati. This show helps me to remember the joy and freedom we get through the birth of Jesus Christ. The pastor starts with putting on chains at the beginning of the show. Chains for choices we’ve made, sin that has held us in bondage. The choir that sings O Come, O Come Emmanuel throughout the show wears veils over their heads and chains around their arms. The most powerful part, for me, is at the end of the show when they finally sing “Rejoice” and their veils and chains come off as they look upon the Christ child in the manger. It is so moving, especially if you look ahead and know what the church will be observing in just a few short weeks with Lent.
The tiny baby Jesus came to earth so that we might have hope and peace. The first 2 weeks of Advent, we observe a week of hope. In the second week, we observe peace.
Hope – during Advent, we have hope that the Savior of the world is coming. Those living in the times of Mary and Joseph, weren’t expecting a tiny baby to be their Savior. They had been expecting a fierce warrior that would put Caesar in his place. However, Love Crashed Into The World as a tiny baby. We, in our current times, have God’s love letter to us (aka the Bible) where we know the story. We know that Jesus was born as God’s gift to all humankind. We know that we have hope in and through Jesus. The hope of his coming is just as great. It’s full of anticipation of what Jesus is going to do for us.
Peace – there’s a great peace in knowing that a savior is coming. God always has his people’s backs. Even when it feels like He isn’t there, He is. Sometimes we have to have that distance in order to increase our faith and our reliance on God. As I look at our current culture, I see anything but peace. Our country appears to be in turmoil and people are doubting God’s presence. He’s here and He’s alive. Ask Him for peace. Ask Him for comfort. When the disciples were anxious before Jesus died on the cross, he left these words with his disciples, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled…” (John 14:27, ESV).
I’ve been going through some struggles lately and have had a hard time feeling at peace. As I’ve prayed for God to release me from my struggles, I’ve sought His peace. Last week, He released me and the peace came. I can’t put it into words, but it’s overwhelming. The peace is amazing, even though, if you’re an outsider looking in you would be freaking out and have all kinds of questions. That affirms, to me, that the peace I feel is only from God. To Him, I give all the glory and thanks. I pray, now, that I can have a daring faith like Samuel who answered, “Here I am” when he had no idea what was happening nor even Peter who stepped out of the boat and walked on water by faith in Jesus.
Are you experiencing the hope and peace that comes with Advent? Are you seeking God’s hope and peace? The coming birth of Jesus is the beginning of our freedom. The chains of bondage will come off as you seek the Savior of the World. With that comes hope and peace.
Featured image courtesy of Kim Karpeles.