My childhood memory of advent is best summarized as my family gathering around a wreath of pink and purple candles whilst my dad read from an advent devotional. Though I now see the beauty in this tradition, my young mind saw it more as something we had to “do” before moving onto more exciting Christmas tasks of baking cookies and decorating the tree. I was unable to see the gift of advent.
After a year where I’ve been acutely aware of the world’s brokenness, my weary heart is refreshed by a season centered on hope. I now see advent as an offer of rest, of reprieve, where the Lord renews my spirit with the hope of his presence.
In his name the nations will put their hope.
The advent season seemed to come quickly this year, and yet, like all that the Lord orchestrates, it came at a beautiful time. A time where a world saturated in darkness needs a fresh revelation that the Lord is still seated on the throne still sovereign over all.
I recently read through Ezekiel—a book of prophecy which may at first seem a declaration of humanity’s apparent vendetta to bring itself to ruins. While it does show the uglier side of human nature, it also illustrates a beautiful picture of the Lord’s redemption. Even while the people of Israel seemed determined to live in rebellion and darkness, the Lord faithfully reminded his people who they belonged to and how he wanted to redeem them.
I’ve heard the passage about dry bones from Ezekiel many times as a reference to the Lord’s power to resurrect, but never before had I considered it in the context of advent:
Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’”
Just as the Lord commanded Ezekiel to call those dry bones from death into life, so he calls his people to walk from death into life.
Just as he breathed new life and hope into the bones which were dry from a bleak and sinful world, so he also draws us near to breathe into us new life and hope.
Just as he offered the dry bones another chance at life, the hope of being made new, so he reminds us of the life we have through Jesus coming to earth. He reminds us in this advent season to hope in the promise of his second coming.
Advent marks a beautiful juxtaposition between reflecting on the past coming of the king and placing our hope in His future arrival.
In a year and season where the world’s brokenness seems especially poignant, the season of advent invites me to cling to the hope that He will make everything new in its time.
While advent candles and wreaths are beautifully symbolic of the celebration, I’m choosing this year to mark the advent season most especially with hope—fresh hope that my king is coming, and hope that he is making me new.
This is my advent prayer:
Jesus, give me more in this advent season:
More of you; more awareness of your presence; more revelation at your redemptive power that is the same yesterday, today, and forever; more rest in the stillness where I find you; more peace as I am reminded that even in this messy world, you are still sovereign over all; more hope in the victory your future coming; more delight in the sacrifice of my savior.
The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace.