In many ways for a variety of different reasons, 2020 has been a year of upheaval, disappointment, and sorrow.
Socially, we’ve witnessed riots and protests.
Politically, we’ve gone through a Presidential election filled with violations of the constitution and much illegality. We’ve seen the Left achieve political victories such as defunding the Police, followed by skyrocketing crime and murder. It seems our Country is about to implode.
Personally, we’re facing Covid, lockdowns, economic hardships, social, and relational isolation.
Religiously, as Houses of Worship were closed, or severely limited in unprecedented ways.
Health wise, many folks died from Covid, many more from substance abuse, suicide, or untreated medical conditions.
You may be grieving the death of one or more of your friends and/or family members.
Last but not least, there’s coping with cancer. Dealing with stress, fear, physical issues, side effects, relational and sexual issues, as well as the prognosis you’ve received.
Then Advent comes around, and you’re expected to be joyful. Here’s where Advent expectations, and assumptions, have gone awry.
Who says we’re supposed to experience joy every waking minute of every day, during the four weeks of Advent?
If you have that expectation, you’re sure to experience a disappointing Advent Season, filled with guilt and shame.
What if all your emotions of grief, sadness, disappointment, loneliness, and heartbreak, that occurred in 2020 became part of your Advent celebration?
The good news is, IT CAN!
During Advent Week, it’s Biblical, expected, and appropriate for you to respond emotionally to all that occurred in 2020. The Bible tells us so!
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven...
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
Therefore, ALL of the feelings we have during Advent, become part of our Advent celebration.
That said, we have reasons to experience joy, in spite of the unwanted changes in our lives.
Our celebration of Advent is sandwiched between Jesus first and second coming.
Our sources of joy for Advent come from the things Jesus accomplished in His first coming, and what He’ll accomplish in His second coming.
In His first coming we can rejoice because He came to:
- To reveal the Father – “All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.” Matt. 11:27
- To be a ransom for many – “Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Matt.20:28
- To serve – “just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Matt. 20: 28
- To save the world – “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” John 3:17; Luke 19:10
- To preach the good news of the kingdom of God – “But he said, “I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.” Luke 4:43
- To do the will of the Father – “For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me.” John 6:38
- To give the Father’s words – “For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me.” John 17:8
- To testify to the truth – “You are a king, then!” said Pilate. Jesus answered, “You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.” John 18:37
- To give life – “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full . . . I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.” John 10:10,28
- To atone for sin – “For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people.” Heb. 2:17
- To proclaim freedom for believers – “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed.” Luke 4:18
- To take away sin – “But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin.” 1 John 3:5
- To preach – “Jesus replied, ‘Let us go somewhere else–to the nearby villages–so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.'” Mark 1:38
- To call sinners – “On hearing this, Jesus said to them, ‘It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.‘” Mark 2:17
- To know who is true – “We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true. And we are in him who is true–even in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.” 1 John 5:20
“The days are coming," declares the LORD, "when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah.
~ Jeremiah 31:31~
and it’s fulfillment:
In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.
~ Luke 22:20~
In His second coming here’s what happens:
Evil is defeated, the earth is restored, and God wins. Your response to Jesus’ return depends on your relationship with Him. It will either be, as John MacArthur calls it, “the greatest calamity in all of human history” or the fulfillment of the Blessed Hope (Titus 2:13). Faith in Christ makes the difference. “But when the Son of Man returns, how many will he find on the earth who have faith?” (Luke 18:8, NLT).
My personal favorite is this:
Revelation 21:4 4'He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no moredeath' or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."
So looking back, and looking forward, we find reasons to experience joy during Advent, because all of these things were set into motion when a child was born in a manger.
Rick Redner & his wife Brenda Redner authored two award winning books, both available on Amazon. They are: