by Daniel Becerra
When was the last time you really looked forward to something? Perhaps it was a wedding day, a long-anticipated vacation, a family reunion, or the birth of a new child. These significant events have some common patterns. We think about them. We plan for them. We put a great deal of effort so that we are ready when that day comes. We do this because, in His infinite kindness, God has given us the gift of longing for good gifts. He wants us to long for good gifts.
And while there are plenty of good gifts, none surpass our true and better portion: the Lord Himself. If Iâ€™m honest though, I sometimes plan more for vacations than I do for eternity. Can you relate? Itâ€™s part of our broken humanity. Left to ourselves, we settle for too little.
So, what can we do? How can the season of Advent help? Allow me to suggest two ways.
1. It revives our hearts to the wonder of Christmas.
If your heart is like mine, then you can grow numb to the Christmas story. I catch it in my heart regularly. I lose my awe for what God has done in my life, and for what God has done in entering our broken world. He is a creator willing to be misunderstood and mistreated by His creation, including me and you!. He became an endangered child, an immigrant, a poor man, one who suffered a criminalâ€™s death. In Jesus coming to the world, God fulfills His promise of crushing the enemy. The Creator rescues His creation from the very problem we got ourselves into.
Lead your heart to dwell on this: God gave it all up for the entire world, and for you and me. God loves each of us uniquely as much as He loves all of us collectively. Donâ€™t miss how marvelous this is!
2. It points our hearts in the right direction
If your heart is like mine, then you are prone to wander. If the first part of Advent is remembrance, the second is longing and preparation. In this season, we are invited to sit in the tension of remembering Godâ€™s faithfulness even as we long for a greater, perfect future. We donâ€™t normally do this. And so, we observe Advent because our hearts need it. In a time where we hurt so much, Advent can fill us with courage and hope. It can strengthen our weary hearts and help us live the values of the â€œUpside Down Kingdom.â€ It can help us fight for justice because we are reminded that this world is not the end. It can help us strive for purity because we know it will be worth it. And it can strengthen our resolve to make disciples because we remember He is with us always, even to the end of times.
In closing, it can be said that our city needs followers of Jesus that live in Advent season year longâ€”disciples who remember and who long. It is the assurance of faithfulness past that help us believe and move toward a redeemed future. May we trust the Lord together for this.
Daniel Becerra is a missional team leader in greater Los Angeles with Cru. He and his wife Alice are members of Fountain of Life Covenant Church. Learn more about their ministry.