Advent: A Season of Longing and Hope
“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.” Therefore, Israel will be abandoned until the time when she who is in labor bears a son, and the rest of his brothers return to join the Israelite. Micah 5:2-3
Christmas, when I was a child, was a time to celebrate the birth of Jesus and get presents. I had very little knowledge of the word “Advent ” other than the countdown calendars my aunt sent us every year. Fast forward 15 years or so and I find myself marrying into a Catholic family with all of their Advent and Christmas traditions. I discovered the “12 Days of Christmas” was more than just a catchy song about getting way too many gifts. A few years later we moved Houston and I found my way to South Main Baptist Church, where the liturgical calendar is not only discussed, but celebrated. Here is where I learned about the true meaning of the season of Advent.
Advent is the season when we remember Israel’s longing for the coming of the Savior. God promised them time and time again that he would send them a Rescuer. For generations the people waited and hoped for this person to come. Their hope carried them through this time of longing until the time of Joy came to pass through the birth of the promised child.
In a time where Christmas decorations are seen in stores in September, mixed in with Halloween decorations, the Advent season seems to have gotten lost. We move straight from eating turkey while watching football, and maybe saying a few thanks, to singing “Joy to the World.” This year, let us take a few weeks to remember that our Joy only comes because our longing for a Savior was so great.
Lord, let us remember our time of longing for you, so we can truly celebrate the Joy we have in your gifts of Mercy and Grace through your son, Jesus.
Kathryn Oliver has been at South Main since 2007. She is an active member of the choir and South Main brass. She and Scott are parents to Hailey (11), William (7), and Lauren (5).