It’s the night before Advent begins.  Growing up as a Southern Baptist, I was unfamiliar with the celebration preceding Christmas.  The richness of Advent is hard to describe – you have to experience it.  What is Advent? It means, “coming or arrival, especially of something or someone extremely important.”  I wrote this devotional for my grad school 2 years ago to date and thought I would re-post it since it sums up Advent for me.  I hope you will join me over the next 25 days as we eagerly wait……
Over 400 years had passed since the last words of the prophets had been spoken. No new revelation had been given. Waiting. Watching. Hoping.  When would Messiah come?  Do you think their hope began to wane?  Do you think they questioned whether He would ever come?  Do you think their longing turned to hopelessness or a bitter, questioning heart?  When hope seems elusive, our hearts can despair.  However, imagine a stable, a manger, a baby, our Savior.  I wonder if on the night Messiah was born, the world felt something shift.  The One who would arrive would bring Hope, because Hope is not in things, dreams, wants, and others, HOPE is a Person, the person of Jesus. I encourage you to take a minute and reflect and listen to my favorite Christmas song, O Holy Night and think about the significance of that quiet night in Bethlehem when Hope came in the form of a baby.  And tonight, whatever it is you are still waiting for…take courage and look for beauty rising from the ashes.

O Holy Night! The stars are brightly shining, 
It is the night of the dear Saviour’s birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining.
Till He appeared and the Soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees! Oh, hear the angel voices!
O night divine, the night when Christ was born;

Led by the light of faith serenely beaming, 
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand.
O’er the world a star is sweetly gleaming,
Now come the wisemen from out of the Orient land.
The King of kings lay thus lowly manger;
In all our trials born to be our friends.
He knows our need, our weakness is no stranger,

Truly He taught us to love one another, 
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains he shall break, for the slave is our brother.
And in his name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
With all our hearts we praise His holy name.
Christ is the Lord! Then ever, ever praise we,
His power and glory ever more proclaim!
His power and glory ever more proclaim!

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