“The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; a light has dawned on those living in the land of darkness.” Isaiah 9:2
Growing up, Christmas was significant to my family because we celebrated the birth of Jesus. Leading up to that though, we never took notice of Advent or really practiced any reflection that time can bring in the days before Christmas. In recent years, I started doing an Advent study so that I could help my heart to focus on Jesus, His birth, and the promise that he will return again as a way to fight against all the cultural stress that Christmas can bring.
This Advent season started much the same where December began[EN1] , my study began and I prayed for God to keep my heart in check. But this new normal didn’t last when I had some friends go through what has been the most trying season of their life. They suffered the unexpected loss of a loved one, and it was devastating. In an instant, life was not the same. The timing of this tragedy gave me the slightest bit of perspective on what the coming of Jesus meant to the world both in real time and what it means to me today. Today, I hear stories of sadness and tragedy, and my heart hurts. It would be easy to stay in that sad, dark place, but I have hope for a different outcome because I know about the birth of Jesus and the promise He brought into the world. If I didn’t, hearing about things that happened to wonderful people like my friend would seem like too much to bear.
I look at my life, and the comforts that it brings me. I look at how I feel peace when things go according to my plans and that everyone does what they are supposed to do. For example, when my young daughter stays healthy and I don’t have to stay home from work with her, I am able to go to the grocery store and keep our meals for the week organized, my husband Ben is able to contribute to our income by going to work every day and my health allows me to work out each morning. Relatively speaking, everything in my little part of the world is firing on all cylinders, and I am at peace. What an uncertain and ever changing place to find peace, and what unreliable things to put my hope in especially because life is fleeting and can change in an instant. So many bible verses remind us where to place our hope and peace. “I wait for the Lord; I wait and put my hope in his word,” found in Psalm 130:5. As well as this verse found in Micah 5:5, “He will be their peace.” The people living at that time didn’t live a life that looked like mine, but I know the conditions of our hearts were the same. They put their hope in worldly, fleeting things, too. They were floundering around putting all their trust in the things of the world. So while those things might change over the years, the principle is the same.
I wanted to write this post as a reflection on our recent Advent season, but this feels so relevant all over again in light of the world wide pandemic we are in. I pray we can all find our rest and our hope in the only sure thing, Jesus. I’ll leave you with this last verse from 1 John 4:9, “God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his one and only Son into the world so that we might live through him.”
*The Advent Study I did was made my She Reads Truth. I took many of the bible verses that they used for the study in this devotion.
written by Katie Choi