So far, I have been sharing about advent from the perspective of I learned about advent last year...and even from the perspective of I am learning these things this year, but so far its been pretty easy to practice what I preach. So I am haven't been speaking from the trenches, from the battlefields of holiday dissapointment and fighting for joy. So far having joy and hope this season has been immensely easy.
But this past weekend was discouraging for several reasons (mostly the fact that I was exhausted)...and unlike my previous advent posts, yesterday's post wasn't directed at encouraging others, it was directed at encouraging me. I needed the reminder that Immanuel means God is with me and is concerned about me and the small details of my life. I needed the reminder that hope is not silly. I needed the reminder that when exhausted or dissapointed or confused, Christ is right there with me. That fact alone gives me hope.
Last night I was praying before bed and realized this is where the rubber hits the road, where I practice what I preach....Do I believe that the Lord is with me when the holiday seems overwhelming with parties, little sleep, letdowns, irritations with friends, disspointments in dating? Do I believe the Lord is soverign when things don't seem perfect? Do I still believe the Lord can be trusted and we can have hope even when the holiday season, a relationship, a friendship, family, job, circumstances, etc have let me down?
We weren't meant to have Hope and Peace when then things are perfect, Hope and Peace (during advent and year-round) are meant to sustain us when things aren't perfect.
I'm willing to bet I am not the only person feeling let down by the holiday season..there are those feeling overwhelmed by shopping, dreading family time, annoyed by shopping with a screaming 2 year old, feeling alone in a new town, dealing with sick family member, longing for a baby, etc. But, at this time, more than ever, we are supposed to hope...when the world laughs at us for doing so, for believing that circumstances get better or atleast will be redeemed, for believing in healing and provision, for believing that waiting on God is a good thing. It's okay, we know the ending....we know that He is coming, both in the present and in the future.