Advent is more than eating a chocolate per day in the countdown to Christmas. According to the World English Dictionary the word advent is defined as: an arrival or coming, especially one which is awaited. A true Advent season waits with anticipation of the Gift, which is Christ. It starts on a Sunday, four weeks prior to Christmas, not December 1 as Advent calendars would lead us to believe. Each week is meant for a guided meditation of four themes: hope, joy, peace, love.
Hope is necessary for living; without hope, we give up. It’s grievous to witness people who live without hope. God has plans for us, plans to give us hope and a future. Not only is hope for the future, but it is relevant for us already; hope deferred makes the heart sick but a longing fulfilled is like the tree of life. Every hope and desire is fulfilled in Christ who has come into the world and is coming again.
Once hope has been established, we are released into joy because without hope, there is no possibility for joy. God is abundant in hope (he’s called the God of hope) and it’s through His hope we are filled with joy and peace so we can also overflow with hope to release to others. Joy to the world, indeed.
Joy ushers in peace, which moves beyond even our logical understanding. It’s a paradox to the mind how exchanging a hopeless situation to the One who brings salvation and peace, even when the situation might not change immediately. The Bible says we are in perfect peace when we keep our minds on God.
Finally, after hope, comes joy and after joy enters peace which is bound together in love. Have you noticed when your heart is anxious, it is difficult to portray love - true love, with your whole being and not just words? All of us need love. It is vital to our well being and it summarizes the entire law – love others.
Advent gives us an opportunity to reflect on these attributes of kingdom living, and each word is perfectly represented in Jesus Christ. Who are you waiting for?