It’s easy to get lost in this season. For some, it’s busyness that’s the distraction—we bounce from family gathering to work party to a get together with friends to another family gathering. We spend more time figuring out how we can possibly make it to every event we’ve been invited to than we do reflecting on why it is we even have these events. Maybe the answer to this is to simply learn to say, “No,” to some things.
Perhaps this time of year is difficult because of a loss. It marks an anniversary of loss, or this holiday reminds you of it. Some, I’m sure, would rather not even celebrate this holiday because of the difficult emotions it now contains.
Christmas seems to be—from my experience at least—the most nostalgic holiday we celebrate. Perhaps it’s cultural, we hear many popular Christmas songs speaking to this idea of coming together as friends and family to talk about and celebrate longstanding traditions. Maybe it’s due to the traditional practice of Advent, this idea of looking back on what God has done in history and in our lives. Or maybe it’s simply a practical thing—we huddle around a fire for warmth and remember a time where going outside didn’t hurt our face and freeze all the moisture in our body.
It’s this nostalgia that can be the place of difficulty for many. We remember stories of people who aren’t with us any more, we remember times when things were just better in our families.
This season calls us to hope, and that hope is well founded because the hope that this season reminds us of is based on a God who has proven faithful. This hope finds its foundation on a host of promises made by the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God who led his people through the desert and established them as a nation. It’s this God who speaks to Nathan in 2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16 and promises that David’s name will be made great and that through his family, the throne would be established forever.
It’s this promise that Matthew leans on when he writes the beginning of his Gospel, rooting Jesus in David’s lineage and proclaiming Jesus to be the promised king who would establish that throne forever.
In this season of Advent, we’re called to remember Emmanuel and to anticipate the return of the King. It’s in this time of reflection that our attitudes and patterns of thought shift, where we’re reminded of the things that Jesus commanded us to do. Finally, it’s in remembering who it is that commands us to, ‘Go,’ that we can have the hope and courage to actually do it.
Throughout the Bible, God proves himself faithful again and again. We know that his promises hold true and so we know that we can rely on this comfort, that, “Surely, I [Jesus] am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
We have reflected, in the last weeks, about how our ways should change when we remember Jesus’ coming and anticipate his return. Today, let’s consider why we have hope and why we might be so bold to go and proclaim this message.