Advent begins this Sunday. This year, we feel it. This year has been hard. As a world, we’ve experienced tragedy, loss, grief, strife. We’ve seen violence, hardship, drought, and floods. Zoom in from the world to our nation, and we’ve seen the same—hatred, hurt, heartbreak. Zoom in from our nation to our homes, and I’m sure you’ve experienced your own trials this year.
This year, we feel Advent. We feel the waiting, the watching, the anticipation for Christ, for redemption.
The first week of Advent traditionally marks hope. I love that. We need hope now more than ever.
Whenever I think of Advent, I think of the first Advent. The 400 years of silence between Malachi and the angel visiting Mary. I think of how hopeless the faithful must have felt. They experienced tragedy, loss, violence, hatred, and trials. And God was seemingly silent.
The faithful ones put their hope in what they could not see—they waited for the Messiah. Some believed He would come like a king, defeating their enemies, conquering those who hurt them, establishing His kingdom where everything would be made whole. And He did, but not at all in the way they thought. Their hope was still grounded on earth. They did not know to hope for a King who would defeat Satan, conquer death, and establish His forever-kingdom.
Advent serves as a reminder for us to place our hope in Jesus. In John 16, after the Last Supper and before the cross, Jesus taught His disciples to prepare them for a future without Him physically with them. In the last verse of the chapter, Jesus says,
I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world.
We hope during Advent, and all year through, because we have a King who has overcome the world, in all its trials, heartbreak, strife, and hardship.
I love the old hymn, “O Holy Night.” One line gets me every time: “A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices.” This year, we feel our weariness. This year, like every year, we need the thrill of hope.
Weary world, rejoice! We have the thrill of hoping in Christ, the One who has conquered.
Elizabeth Hyndman is an editor and social media strategist for Lifeway Christian Resources. When she’s not inserting Oxford commas and answering questions about Bible studies, she likes to drink chai lattes, write, and explore her home city of Nashville, Tennessee. She blogs at edhyndman.com and tweets @edhyndman.