Advent is waiting with expectation and hope for our Savior to come. Preparing our hearts for His arrival.
The first time in my adult life I ever thoughtfully observed the Advent season was when I was pregnant with my firstborn son. I don’t know how your heart is feeling this Christmas season, but I remember feeling completely alone during a time when I was supposed to be “merry.” When I was pregnant with my son Baby J, I was separated from my husband, feeling completely rejected, and praying that our separation wouldn’t end in divorce. That Christmas was heartbreakingly lonely. It was incredibly dark as I looked out on the horizon of what my life might look like, and I needed a Savior more than ever.
The world is a dark place these days. There is so so much pain that we are all carrying. Just within the past few months, a friend lost another baby to miscarriage, another friend’s marriage is hanging on by a thread, and a new pastor at our church and his family had just moved to town when his wife died from a sudden cardiac failure leaving him with 4 girls to raise on his own. Everywhere I turn there are heartbreaking reminders that this world is broken and in pain.
The Christmas season brings up many emotions: grief for loved ones who have passed on, longing for hopes and dreams that have yet to materialize, and much more. Because there are so many societal expectations about how our holidays “should” look — the picture perfect Normal Rockwell painting of a family getting along and happy — that when our life doesn’t meet those ridiculous expectations we often feel even more depressed and sad.
How can we possibly prepare our hearts for Christmas if your heart is breaking from pain, grief or loneliness? What encouragement can we find in the Christmas story?
Remember that God sent Jesus as an answer to the darkness we feel.
He is the LIGHT of the world. He is our rescuer from the darkness.
Suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” (Luke 2: 11-14).
I love what John Piper says about this scene: “The angels are sent to make something crystal clear: the son of God has come into his creation to display the glory of God and to reconcile people from alienation to peace with God. To make God look great in salvation and to make man glad in God.” (The Dawning of Indestructible Joy)
God knows the darkness we feel. It’s into this darkness He sends Jesus to provide salvation and to display His glory. He wants us to have PEACE with Him. If your heart is feeling heavy this season, remember that Jesus is the Prince of PEACE.
God provides specific direction.
The angel said to the shepherds, “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Luke 2: 11-12 CSB
If you are in a season of darkness and uncertainty and you need encouragement or direction from God, just ask. In James 1 we read:
“And if anyone longs to be wise, ask God for wisdom and he will give it! He won’t see your lack of wisdom as an opportunity to scold you over your failures but he will overwhelm your failures with his generous grace.” (The Passion Translation)
God is a good, good Father. He wants to provide us with His supernatural wisdom. We just need to ask!
God is a God of suddenlies.
We see this all throughout the Bible. In an instant, God has the authority and power to turn darkness into the magnificent light of His glory displayed by a host of angels on a lonely shepherd’s Nightwatch. He knows what we need and His timing is perfect.
This Christmas if your heart isn’t feeling as merry as you’d like it to be, I pray that these words would be a balm to your soul, reminders that God has not forsaken you. God sees you right where you are, in the midst of the darkness or maybe even the valley of your life. Take heart. Prepare your heart for the coming of our King. He comes suddenly and is the LIGHT of the world!
Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12 (ESV)