The Advent season is all about hope and anticipation. But quite honestly, many of us feel quite tentative about anticipating anything in a year like 2020. So many plans have been rearranged or outright cancelled.
Yet if a season ever fit the moment, it is the Advent season in the year 2020. A people hoping for God’s personal presence while they lived in the midst of chaos is the very situation into which Christ was born.
From a big picture perspective, the Israelites had been waiting for thousands of years for the Messiah. The prophets constantly reminded them that He was coming, but then God appeared to go silent. Silence for 400 years — that would make anyone a little cynical!
In the Christmas story, we see individuals facing disappointed hopes as well – particularly reflected in the stories of Elizabeth, Zechariah, and Anna. Elizabeth & Zechariah who waited for a child year after year. Anna who waited alone in the Temple for the Messiah for decades.
And after all this waiting, they each got to be a part of preparing our world for the Lord to walk among us.
The promise the angel gave to Zechariah about their long-awaited child has beautiful meaning to me this year:
“And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. He will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, ‘TO TURN THE HEARTS OF THE FATHERS TO THE CHILDREN,’ and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”” (Luke 1:16-17)
In their waiting, in their disappointment, the Lord was working. He was preparing them for their Messiah – the Redeemer of the World.
God has used COVID-19 to remind us of the important things in life: family, life, religious freedom. These can be taken for granted at times – but think about each of those words and what they represent. We have come to know their value now far more than ever before.
My prayer as we begin this Advent season is that we will continue to anticipate God’s coming goodness even when it doesn’t feel like it will ever happen. And that as a result we will see His goodness all around us. It has been a year unlike any other and our hearts are weary. May we hang on to the hand that is holding us and press into what the Lord has for us in the coming days.
May your heart be filled with expectation for our coming King,