I haven’t always understood the Advent Season. It really wasn’t a part of my church liturgy growing up. Advent was seen as more of a pre-Christmas preparation period if anything at all. However, Advent was originally intended to give a different focus.
In some ways, it was meant to help us understand the dark period of time before Jesus was born. The Romans occupied Israel, life was hard and there was silence from God. People had longed for the Messiah, but he had not appeared. Then suddenly, the birth of a baby takes place and everything changes. God has begun to fulfil his promises.
He isn’t finished yet. The season of Advent also teaches us to remember that Jesus will come again. Our world can also seem dark and dangerous. Believers are expecting the return of Christ, but it’s been a long time. Some have begun to wonder if God will keep his promise to return and put evil away.
My Advent readings over the last few years have included more passages from Isaiah, a truly amazing book. The prophet foresees the work and ministry of the Messiah, his birth and his return. So, a passage like Isaiah 65:17-19 is an Advent passage:
“See, I will create
new heavens and a new earth.
The former things will not be remembered,
nor will they come to mind.
But be glad and rejoice forever
in what I will create,
for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight
and its people a joy.
I will rejoice over Jerusalem
and take delight in my people;
the sound of weeping and of crying
will be heard in it no more.”
This is the world we hope for. Some doubted that a Messiah would ever appear. Some think he will never return. We aren’t to become cynical, callous or lazy. We are called to watch and wait. For at just the right time, our Saviour will appear.