“Faith is believing in things when common sense tells you not to.”
FRED GAILEY, "MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET"
As we enter week three of the season of Advent and the preparation to celebrate all that our world was given through the birth of Jesus, we do so as the year comes to an end. So, while this season is marked with anticipation, it is also a time of reflection on the memories, relationships, events, highs and lows, gains and losses, and growth and setbacks from the past year.
While we are all on unique journeys, it is likely each of us can reflect on this past year and identify seasons of joy and growth as well as seasons of struggle and challenge. Typically, it is not difficult to find encouragement when reflecting on the seasons of growth, but what if there is hope to be uncovered in times of struggle and challenge? Dietrich Bonhoeffer suggests that this is what the celebration of Advent is about when he writes these words,“The celebration of Advent is possible only to those who are troubled in soul, who know themselves to be poor and imperfect, and who look forward to something greater to come.”
While we now know Jesus would preach incredible messages, perform miracles, and ultimately reconcile us to God through his death and resurrection, it would have been nearly impossible to imagine that possibility in the bleak and challenging circumstances of his birth. Because of this, Christmas encourages us with two important truths. First, even when things appear to be the bleakest and most disappointing, God is at work. So, in challenging seasons, we are not waiting for God, but we are waiting with God. Second, God is often working in ways we least expect, and if we aren’t intentionally looking for evidence of His presence, we might miss it.
During this Advent season, as you reflect on the highs and lows, the encouragement and disappointments of the past year, may you be filled with hope and anticipation, knowing God is with you and greater things are to come.
“Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin.”
ZECHARIAH 4:10 NLT