Advent, Week Two: Reflect on Hope, by James Nickols
There is so much to unsettle us at the moment.
Busyness is ramping back up to pre-COVID levels, but we carry with us burdens from the challenges of the last two years.
There is little predictability in the world now with holidays subject to last minute cancellation, supply issues from bricks to loo roll to petrol and threats of another lockdown. There is also uncertainty about the future both geopolitically and with the impact of climate change. As a result, many people are living in perpetual anxiety.
We have an opportunity in this Advent Season, as we prepare for the coming of Jesus, to re-examine how we think about the issues we face, both as individuals and as a society.
When we find ourselves in difficult circumstances it is easy to see only the restrictions, the restraints, the problems. If we are overly mindful of what is not right, we begin to lose sight of the Lord’s presence in our circumstances.
We must not let the things we face become our heart’s focus.
At the core of the message of Advent is the truth that we can have hope because the Lord came to be with us during the mess, the muck, the muddle.
We may not be able to change our circumstances, but we can always meet the Lord in the midst of them.
So, this Advent, don’t focus on your circumstances but come into the presence of the Lord. Through the incarnation the Lord makes a covenantal promise: “I will be found by you.”
We have a perfect Father who is wonderfully good. He loves us so much that he sent His son to be born on earth and live among us, sharing all our joys and sorrows.
We are invited into a face-to-face, heart-to-heart connection with the Father who fights for your welfare and contends for your blessing.
When you have all this stuff swirling around you, the Lord steps into the middle of the chaos and says, “I want you to know I know you, I love you, I am with you, I have good plans for you.”
It is the mercy of the Lord that whatever the situation you face, if you calm your heart and turn to the Lord, He will speak to you and bring a promise that is so opposite to your surroundings that it will literally stun you. That is the meaning of Immanuel, God with us.
This Advent don’t be distracted by the circumstances of life but choose to be occupied with the face of the one who loves you, who came for you, who died for you.
Set your heart to seek the Lord again, because he says, “I will be found by you.”
We can have hope because we are safe, safe in the love and the good purposes of our perfect Father in heaven.