Faith. Hope. Joy. These are three of the four themes of Advent related to the waiting, the expectation of Christ's appearing. But what do they mean to me? A year ago, nothing. They were merely secularized seasonal words slapped onto Christmas cards or displayed in storefront windows. They were familiar, yet foreign, like some other language. Indeed, for me, these words WERE a foreign language! Faith. Hope. Joy. They were mere slogans for executive advertising schemes, used for timely sermon topics in church, and representative of things I could not possibly attain.
This year however, I am learning the language of salvation, which is what the Christmas season is truly about. It is a language of passion, of pursuit. It is a language of love. It is one of belief, of waiting, of struggling. It is faith, hope, joy. And even in the uncertainty of the learning, I can experience that great peace that Christ will come. But how?
Certainly Mary & Joseph asked this very same question- not once, but many times in the 9 months they spent waiting. Certainly the prophets & teachers of the law asked this question many times throughout the centuries leading up to Christ the Messiah's birth. But how? How can this be? How will it all go down? They could not possibly know. All they knew was that He was coming...
This year, faith, hope & joy floats on the surface of the season like lifesaving buoys. In the waiting, it's easy to be concerned with the hows & the whens & the whys. In the moment, it's the investment that matters. What we do in the moment prepares us for what comes next. Jesus is coming. This holiday season, are we holding fast to faith & hope with joy? Are we learning the language of salvation so we will see Him when He arrives? Or are we just waiting for presents under the tree?