I don’t know where I’ve been the past six Advents at my church, but this year, I’ve been given the gift of Advent and the gift of hope. This year, I finally see why we need Advent—the season in which the church celebrates Christ’s first coming while also eagerly anticipating his second coming.
Because here’s the truth. We don’t realize our immense need and desperate longing for the light unless we’ve first seen the gravity and weight of the inky darkness.
And in just the past few months, there’s been a lot of darkness in my life and family. My beloved Granddad passed away unexpectedly, I’m battling severe chronic depression, and a close family member still remains bed-ridden two years later. My heart aches with pain, and hurts for those who are suffering, grieving, ill, and losing their last shreds of hope.
Numerous times I’ve heard myself telling others, “I’m so sorry that you’re going though this. This is not the way it’s meant to be.”
It’s not meant to be this way, you know. We were created to walk in the light. To know God intimately and to be his image-bearers. And yet, because of the Fall, our world is now one of darkness where sickness, death, despair, and poverty reign.
And it’s in the midst of this tension, in the midst of wrestling with the way things were meant to be, but aren’t, that we find Christ—our one and only hope.
Isaiah 9:2 reads:
“The people walking in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness
a light has dawned.”
In one short verse, the entire Gospel and the season of Advent are summed up. We, just like the exiled Israelites who longed for a Savior and King, are a broken and sinful people. We all desperately need healing and redemption from the darkness. And yet, because of who he is and his great love for us, God did not leave us alone in the shadows to try to fight and claw our way out. The Father sent his Son, the light of the world, to redeem us from the darkness and to reconcile us back to himself.
And in this we take hope. I take hope because “the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:5). Because even though things are still not as they were meant to be, a day is coming when all will be made right. Christ, our triumphant King, will return, and on that glorious day everything in heaven and on earth will “declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light” (1 Peter 2:9).
My prayer is that you too would experience the gift of Advent and the gift of hope in Christ. Together, may we be people of the Light. People who celebrate Christ’s first coming and savor the costly gift of salvation. People who eagerly anticipate Christ’s second coming. People who in the midst of great darkness can point to the light and say, “Yes, this is not the way it was meant to be, but let me tell you about the Light.”
*Originally posted on Irving Bible Church's website in December 2015.