My Advent List:

Getting ready for Christmas around our house is a mixture of fun and anxiety. I like pulling out the boxes and rediscovering the decorations. I love how the girls seem to have a particular story with each ornament. We have special ones that we each want to put in a spot on the tree.

This year, Christmas is a bit weird for our family. We have been renting a small apartment as our house remains for sale. So it seems that I have an Advent List too!

        I’m longing for my house to sell.
        I’m longing for a sense of permanence where we can begin to make a home.
        I’m longing for a place for my library so the many books I use and access for ministry are available on a daily basis.
        I’m longing a better home.
        I’m longing for my father’s house and the renewal of all things.

To be honest I have been ok living in our small space. The adventure has been a challenge at times but my family seems to have adapted pretty well. But the thing that keeps us able to live in such close quarters and have a pretty good attitude is the same thing that helps me in my day to day life. This world is not my home.

Now and Not Yet

The Advent Season reminds me that there is an incompleteness in this life that can only be met in believing in the gospel. Theologians talk about a phrase, ‘now and not yet.’ The person who trusts Christ for salvation receives new life now. The now part is my standing before my Heavenly Father, who made peace with my rebellious heart by Christ’s death and resurrection. Jesus’ death, a once and for all event, was a payment for my sin and also gave me his goodness. I not only stand forgiven but I am seen as holy in God’s eyes!

The Not Yet part of Salvation is that while I am declared “right” with God, I still live in this world, “tempted, tried and sometimes failing.” I long for the return of Christ and this event has not happened yet! So Advent season isn’t just for Christmas time after all!

Each person who knows Christ must take time to enter in to the pain of their own depravity, the brokenness of this world and the realization that we face a enemy who steals joy and blinds our eyes to hope.

Advent is a season of longing. Advent is a time for us to plead, Come Lord Jesus! Come Oh, Come Emmanuel. Jesus, give us an awareness of our need for you each day that helps us live at once in the tension of the Now and Not Yet. Help us to pray for your coming and restoration. Help us to long for things to be better here and work to bring your Kingdom as our lives and the lives of others are brought from a place of brokenness to a place of ongoing restoration.

Take time to stop before the Christmas Rush takes over.
Take time to listen and spend time in the word, journalling and prayer.
Talk to God about those deep longings, the places in your life that need healing and restoring and ask him to show you how the Gospel brings you hope that can be found in no other.
Pray for opportunities to share with someone else how Jesus is the solution for our deepest longings.

Here are some lyrics by Matthew Smith -from the Christmas Compilation Your King Has Come –

Your King has Come

“There was a man named Simeon
He was righteous and devout
His Faith it did not waiver
This man had no doubt
But he cried to God “When will you reconcile yourself to man”
The Spirit moved him to the temple courts where he met the Great I AM.

Rejoice, Rejoice Emmanuel
Your King has come to you O Israel
Rejoice, rejoice, Emmanuel
Has come to thee, O Israel

Sovereign Lord as you have promised
Dismiss your servant now in peace
For my eyes have seen your salvation, now joy will never cease
A light of revelation to the Gentiles, this little baby will be
Your people Israel will be glorified, I see Emmanuel in front of me

Rejoice, Rejoice Emmanuel
Your King has come to you O Israel
Rejoice, rejoice, Emmanuel
Has come to thee, O Israel

We no longer have to worry, salvation’s not a distant hope
For God has done what He had said he would, sin’s license has been revoked
Death no longer has its power, the serpent’s head has been crushed
Don’t wait another hour and see dust return to dust

But instead…(chorus)

Rejoice, Rejoice Emmanuel
Your King has come to you O Israel
Rejoice, rejoice, Emmanuel
Has come to thee, O Israel

O Come O Come Emmanuel

Words and music by Matthew Smith
Get the Music at Bandcamp –
http://matthewsmith.bandcamp.com/album/your-king-has-come

For more information about following Christ this season consider reading the Christmas story from the gospels.
Here are the texts you can begin with:
Matthew Chapter 1
Luke Chapter 2