Dear friends and family,
The semester is winding down here at Indiana Wesleyan University. We’ve had two decent snowfalls already. Indiana might celebrate a white Christmas this year! Finals are next week, and then all of us students will break for a month before hitting the books again. I am very excited. 🙂
I love this time of year. I really, truly love the season of advent. I love the feeling of hope I have, even in this dark time. The night comes earlier. The days are drearier. The load is heavier. And, yet, there is such a deep rooted peace in my heart, because all around me, I see reminders of advent.
Advent means “to come” or “arrival.” Of course, as Christians, we know that advent, this notable coming, speaks of Yeshua ha Messiach. The Anointed of Salvation. Jesus Christ. Oh, and while it is so true that He came as a baby, born into a volatile world to save the least, it is just as true that He will again come to set right a world that is broken.
For my senior project, I am researching sex-trafficking in southern Africa. For hours on end, I sit and read reports about the desperate situation of millions of women and children trapped in a net of exploitation and abuse. I walk across campus and see the flag at half mast, mourning the victims of the mall shooting in Nebraska. I remember the 40 million people trying to live normal lives with HIV/AIDS, and I hurt for the 13 million children orphaned by that disease. I open up the news feeds and find stories of violence, hatred, government oppression, and natural disasters. I watch my friends at school grieve the untimely deaths of loved ones. A grandfather. A niece. A childhood friend. A father.
Pat Hannon, my campus pastor, would ask, “Do you feel the dissonance between the way the world is, and the way it could be? The way it should be?”
Will the world ever be right again?
Advent gives me hope. Yeshua ha Messiach, the Anointed of Salvation, Jesus Christ will come! That may sound like a fool’s hope, but it is as true today as it was during the dark hours before Jesus’ birth that night in Bethlehem. He came then to show us what the world was supposed to be- to teach us how to live the Kingdom Way in eager anticipation of its coming. The next time He comes- He will make all things new!
We must not fall into doubt and despair. No. We are a people of hope! We are lovers of life and justice and peace. We cannot naively ignore the darkness around us, but we must shine all the brighter in spite of it!
Pat Hannon said last week, “In advent, we are called to long for God to do everything He’s promised to do. We long for it, and we wait… we wait in hope and expectancy… Our world is pregnant. Pregnant with a hope of God- we yearn with a hope of birth.”
Just like my friend Taylor, who is very much pregnant, longs to give birth to her son- so should we long for the coming of our Lord Jesus and the Kingdom of God.
Paul told us how the world groans, like in childbirth, waiting for its liberation from bondage to decay (Romans 8 ). Are we groaning inside? Do we feel the dissonance? Are we eagerly seeking the Kingdom?
Let us not be satisfied to simply share gifts, eat food, and sing carols this Christmas. Let’s look at the world, embrace its pain, and long, with confident hope and eager anticipation, for Jesus to heal it.
“Wait. Wait for the resolution. And when you see God breaking in- join Him.” (Pat Hannon)
O come, O come, Emmanuel!
I love you all. Merry Christmas!