the advent season is about preparing our hearts to celebrate the arrival of jesus (emmanuel - god with us) and to remind us to look forward to his triumphant return. it was hard for israelites before jesus was born. there was a very long time between isaiah's prophecies (or even genesis 3) and jesus' birth. and it is hard for us now. it has been some 2000 years since jesus said he was coming back. so we wait.
but waiting is hard. it is easy to get distracted when we are waiting. shiny things catch our eyes and they cease to fixed on jesus. or we hear the serpent tempting us with the same lie as eve, "did god really mean that? he is holding out on you." we all at some point will or have forgotten what we are even waiting for.
henri nowen says, "fearful people have a hard time waiting. ...the more afraid we are, the harder waiting becomes." ("waiting for god" watch for the light"). a very true statement. our impatience is often rooted in the fear of losing something, not having something, not getting something, something bad happening to us, etc.
so how do we remedy this? nowen says, we must remind ourselves of the promises of god. we have no need to fear when we know what we are promised and that the one making the promises always is true to his word. this also keeps us from being distracted from other things that claim to be as good or better than god or his promises.
god is so good to us! giving us promises to give us hope! and boy do we need it!
nowen also says that this needs to be done in community. he uses the story of mary and elizabeth as an example. they are able to encourage one another during the time of their pregnancy, reminding each other what god had promised.
likewise, we need people around us reminding us what god has promised. calling us out when we run after other things or believing lies. we are waiting for our jesus to come back, but we need help. i hope you have those around you who are in your life and can remind you of god's promises (if not this is a good time to start). and i pray that during this season you get even more time to dig into his word and learn more and more about his promises. cling to them, even in hardship. he always comes through!