Thursday, December 8, 2022

Advent Hope


By: Donna Bucher

Advent is a season of waiting, expecting, and hoping. The word “advent” implies a “coming” or “visit”, and appropriately, at Christmas we prepare for “Christ”.

Advent encompasses a rich tradition of remembering Israel’s hope for the coming of God’s Messiah to save, forgive, and restore. But we also remember our hope of the second coming of Jesus, and our need for a Savior to save us from sin.

Lastly, I prefer to think of Advent as a way to prepare to welcome Jesus into my “world” and into my heart anew.


Despite the lyrics of the beloved Christmas carol, “Silent Night”, all was not “calm and bright” that first Advent. Just as Zechariah prophesied in Luke 1:78-79, God’s people sat in deep darkness and in the shadow of death. 


“The people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.


Matthew4:16 further captures the extent of the darkness shrouding His people. Jesus came to a world, not full of comfort, joy, and peace, but He stepped into a world shrouded in darkness and a people helpless to dispel it.


Jesus came that first Advent rather to bring peace to a world in turmoil and offer comfort to those who suffered.


He entered the world bringing good tidings of great joy for those awash in a sea of sorrows. Jesus, the true Light came to dispel the darkness. Jesus, appearing as the true Advent hope in times of darkness.

Today, we can easily gloss over the darkness of that first Advent. But consider the way in which Jesus entered the world at His birth. Sketchy details of His origins, an unwed mother, pregnant, her betrothed dealing with the shock and grief of that truth.

Whispered suspicions, judgements, and gossip spread throughout Nazareth. An arduous journey to Bethlehem; some believe Joseph took Mary with him even though she was not required to go, to protect her from condemning people. And finally, the indignity of the stable and manger.


Jesus, the true Light that shined in the darkness, (John 1:5) came to defeat the deep darkness of God’s people. But that victory did not appear immediately, for “He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him”. (John1:11) Men loved darkness rather than light, because of their evil deeds. (John3:19)

For three decades Jesus, the Light of the world, lived, breathed, and taught those who came to Him the truth that would free them from their darkness.


Until on Calvary, Jesus delivered the final blow to death and darkness. From about the sixth hour until the ninth hour the world lay in a literal darkness, symbolizing the battle to wrest souls from sin and evil.

Then followed by the darkest Sabbath while Jesus, the true Light lay dead, held by darkness and the shadow of death for the last time.


There in that very darkness the Light defeated the powers of death and darkness once and for all.


As Christians, we celebrate deliverance from the kingdom of darkness, now dwelling in the Kingdom of God’s beloved Son, Jesus. (Colossians 1:13) We know that God shined the light of the glorious gospel into the darkness of hearts, (2Corinthians4:6), yet we live in a dark world.

While God graciously brought the Light of the world to us in our darkness, He also fashions us to shine that light to others.


Advent begins just as the days of winter darken, as we head into the darkest six weeks of the year in this hemisphere. May we remember the true Light shines brighter at the darkest of times.

Midway through the six weeks of winter darkness we’ll turn and focus on the most brilliant turning point in all of history; the birth of Christ. What will this Christmas offer us?

Perhaps at the end of a year such as this, we may see the Day Star from on High appear such as we never saw before. Advent is about hope, waiting, expectation, and the knowledge that no darkness will overcome His Light.

As we celebrate the first Advent of Jesus Christ at Christmas may our hope in His Second Coming compel us to shine into the darkness around us.


How can you welcome the Light of the World into your darkest moments this Advent season?

How can you share the Light of the world with others this Christmas season?



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1 comment:

  1. I've never celebrated Advent, but it sounds like a great idea.


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