Enjoy the season of hopeful waiting this Advent
As we enter the Advent season, what should our focus be? According to modern Christian thought, Advent is the season of reflective preparation for Christ’s nativity at Christmas and Christ’s expected return in the Second coming. Whilst we may now see Advent as a season that serves as an anticipation of Christ’s birth, originally there was little connection between Advent and Christmas. By the 6th century, Roman Christians had tied Advent to the coming of Christ, but the coming they had in mind was his second coming in the clouds, as judge of the world. The Advent season was not explicitly linked to Christ’s first coming at Christmas until the Middle Ages. So, how does this history lesson relate to you, as a single Christian today and what could hopeful waiting look like?
First of all, in Advent, there is a looking back, as well as a looking forward. We look back as we celebrate Christmas – celebrating Christ’s first coming into this world as a baby. But we also look forward to the day He will come again, to take us to be with Him. In the same way, as you take some time to reflect during this season, you can look back on God’s faithfulness and goodness to you, and reflect with hopeful waiting on what is to come.
Things may not be exactly how you want them, or how you hoped they would be, but there will be many things you can thank God for and be grateful for. For example, what prayers has He answered? What friendships has He blessed you with? What lessons have you learnt, even from the difficult experiences? The Bible says that in everything we should give thanks. So, as you look back on what God has done in your life, why not take some time to thank Him for the good and the not so good?
You can also look forward in the waiting, sure that God has something in the works. The great thing about waiting on God is that we’re not waiting on someone who can’t keep his word, or someone who doesn’t quite know what they’re doing. Just like Christians all around the world are waiting in expectation for the Christmas season, and even more importantly, the second coming of Christ, we can wait in expectation for God to turn things around in our lives.
And we can wait with confidence because He has a track record of keeping His word. Perhaps you’re waiting for God to answer your prayer about meeting that special someone, or you’re believing for your relationship to move to the next level, or something completely different. Remember that you’re not alone, and those desires that you have are good desires. In this Advent season, the key to waiting is to wait patiently.
We all know that waiting is not easy and that’s why we need patience, the fruit of the Holy Spirit, in our lives. We all know that Christmas is on the 25th of December but sometimes we still find it difficult to wait for that day to come! It is even more difficult waiting when we don’t know if what we’re waiting for will happen, or indeed, when it will happen.
But the good news is that we can still trust God in the waiting, because He never fails us. Just as we know that Jesus will keep His word about coming back one day, we can also trust that God will keep His word to meet all our needs, to never leave or forsake us, and to work all things together for our good.
So, how do we wait patiently? Firstly, we hold on to God’s word and His promises. Reading the Bible and noting God’s promises to you as a child of God can help when the waiting is proving difficult. Take some time out this Advent season to read your Bible.
Secondly, we wait thankfully and with praise in our hearts. Thank God for what He has already done, and praise Him for what you believe He is going to do. There is a saying that goes, ‘whilst waiting for God to open the door, praise Him in the hallway!’. Make praising God a regular activity in your life.
Thirdly, wait prayerfully. In Luke chapter 2, we read about two people, a man named Simeon and a woman named Anna, who were both waiting to see the Lord’s Messiah. The Bible says in verse 37 that Anna never left the temple, but worshipped day and night, praying and fasting. In the end, both she and Simeon were rewarded when they met the baby Jesus. So, wait prayerfully, and trust God to keep His word to you.
This Advent season, I pray that you experience the love, peace and joy of God as you wait expectantly for Him.
What does hopeful waiting look like for you this Advent?
Enjoyed reading ‘Advent: Enjoying the season of hopeful waiting’? Why not explore the season further with ‘What Advent teaches us about hope‘, ‘Prepare for love, joy and peace this Advent‘ and ‘Let’s reflect and expect this Advent‘