Devotional–Advent Week 1

Isaiah 2:1-5   Matthew 24:33-44

The Advent season awakens us to the hope and joy that the birth of the coming Christ brings, and reminds us to be prepared for the day of Christ when his reign is made fully manifest. Oftentimes, we tend to focus on Advent as a past event or a future one and we tend to neglect the present aspect of Advent. Yes, we have to remember the coming of baby Jesus and celebrate Christmas, and yes we have to prepare our hearts, minds, and souls for the second coming of Jesus Christ, but how do we live out advent in the present?

The words of Jesus in Matthew 24:36-44 call people to a life of work in a spirit of wakefulness. We are not called to passively wait for the coming of Christ, but to actively wait. We sing the question, Mary did you know? Honestly, Mary probably did not fully comprehend the magnitude of the mystery inside of her, but she knew she carried hope for a world in despair. Because in Luke 1:48 Mary recognizes that she has found favor from God and all generations will call her blessed as a result of that favor. Mary was pregnant with Emmanuel, God with us, the savior of the world, baby Jesus. Every birth brings newness of life, hope and joy for families.

What are you pregnant with during this Advent season? What dreams are you pregnant with that will bring hope to the world? While pregnancy is primarily referred to the act of carrying a child, it can also mean the bearer of dreams, purpose, hope, change, life, or light. Are you pregnant with purpose? Maybe the child you carry is the hope for the hungry, or the oppressed, or a voice to the voiceless. Maybe the baby inside of you brings hope of reconciliation. Perhaps you carry forgiveness, love, a cure for cancer, or hope for global warming. God places great things inside of each and every one of us that have the potential to impact the world’s affairs mightily. I invite you in this season to also ask yourself, “do you know?” Do you know the hope that you carry? Mary did her part, she birthed the savior, the ultimate hope and joy of the world. What will you birth into the world?

Having gone through labor myself, I can testify that birthing a child is not for the faint-hearted. I am sure Jesus’ birth was not without pain and suffering for Mary. In the same way, the birth of our dreams, hope, and purpose will not be without pain and suffering. Some of you are suffering right now with the anticipation of finals and final papers to write or grade! For some of you, your college experience is your labor pain because you go through so much in order to birth the dreams you carry, to earn that degree that will change your life and the life of so many others. I want you to know that joy and suffering are companions. One cannot hold the true meaning of joy without suffering.

In this advent season, I invite you to reflect on the deep-seeded, still voice inside of you calling you to the birth of your purpose which will bring hope to the world.