For each of the weeks of Advent I will be posting a short devotional piece. My main Advent theme for this year is: Glimpses of Joy. Together we will discover how God walks beside us during this period of trial and waiting and see with fresh eyes His love for us even in the painful places of our lives.
Christmas is approaching and just like there is a period of preparation before Easter, so also there is also a period of waiting, resting, and renewal before Christmas. At L’Arche we have been discussing in our orientation group the various ways that one can prepare for the Holiday Season. To be honest, I kept pushing back my Christmas music list. I wasn’t prepared to listen to Christmas carols until December 1st but December 1st has come and gone and I still find myself unprepared to listen to all of the great songs. Some of us will use this time of Advent for trying to discover God in new ways whether through devotional readings or prayer or both. I have decided that for each of the 4 weeks of Advent I would like to write up a short devotional piece which I hope will help get you in the Spirit of the true Christmas which should live in our hearts 365 days of the year rather than just on December 25th.
As I was contemplating my theme for this year I felt drawn to the topic of how Christ pierces into our darkness offering us hope and compassion amidst the most difficult times in our lives. This isn’t meant to be a sad tale at all. The truth is that everyone goes through struggles and everyone is broken in some way. Yet, it is through our brokenness that we can experience Christ and find healing and redemption!
The Christmas season can also be very difficult on many people because it can be a time when many emotions come up. For some, Christmas brings back feelings of sadness as they continue to grieve the loss of a loved one who will not be present for the Christmas dinner this year. For others, Christmas can bring intense guilt because of estranged relationships or can bring shame because someone is struggling with a certain issue that they do not know how to address or seek support for this Christmas. Regardless of what one is dealing with this Christmastime, you are never alone and the Spirit of Christ walks beside you daily offering you peace and life.
The portraits of Jesus are already prevalent in the Old Testament – long before the birth of Christ Himself. In Isaiah 53 we read that Christ was a suffering servant. Sometimes people wonder why God does not intervene and stop the tragedies that we see around us every day. I think it’s very important to remember when we are tempted to question God that Jesus went through the worst possible things we could ever imagine in order to save us from our sins so He knows what it is like to suffer. Throughout the next few weeks I will be unpacking more and more these glimpses of joy as we await the coming of Christ.
Christmas is indeed coming and the Son of God will fill our hearts with laughter once again, but for right now we are in a period of waiting. A period of not knowing what is coming next. Of apprehension and perhaps fear. We are invited to sit and ponder the mystery and the depth that awaits us. To throw off the old ways of life that hinder us and to look again with new eyes at the beautiful blessings that are in store for us. But let’s not rush to the cradle. Let’s take our time as we plot this journey into Bethlehem.
Looking for more good Advent reading? Check out: http://www.biblegateway.com/blog/2013/11/bible-gateways-holiday-devotions-are-here/
To read the Isaiah 53 Passage firsthand: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Isaiah+53