On Advent and Hope

Glowing lights in the dark.

This past weekend marked the beginning of Advent. Advent is by far my favorite season. It is so sacred and holy, and yet there is something incredibly raw and real about the way it intersects our lives. Advent is all about waiting—it’s about hope and expectation and weariness. And we get it.

On Sunday we lit the hope candle on the Advent wreath, and we read those familiar words from the prophet Isaiah:

The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned. Isaiah 9:2

Advent is about waiting, of course. It’s about loneliness and ache and longing. But it is also about hope. Advent carries with it a promise that the darkness does not have the last word. It offers a promise that something better is coming—that the story isn’t over just yet.

These days I feel the darkness more acutely than ever before. Our news feeds and television screens are inundated with tragedies and hate and despair.  And that’s why I’m so thankful for Advent. I’m thankful for the chance to sit in the somberness and quiet and darkness of Advent. Advent doesn’t ask us to ignore that—it doesn’t pretend that everything is easy and merry. But Advent does offer us a different perspective. It invites God into the thin, dark places of our world to be present in us and with us.

One of the best ways to live into the Advent season is to choose hope, to choose to believe that a different way of living is on the horizon. This year I am waiting in anticipation of the light that is coming. I am hoping for redemption and healing for our world. And I’m choosing to believe that God is still right where he always said he would be—with us.

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