For a heart that is grieving, the holidays are extremely difficult. And that is most likely an understatement. For the one grieving, everywhere they look they see only disappointment. They see only loss. They see only what is missing. They grieve memories they will never be able to make.
But there is Hope. And Advent points to that Hope.
WHAT IS ADVENT?
Advent is a Latin term that means “coming”. When we celebrate Advent we celebrate Jesus’ coming to earth, God becoming flesh. We celebrate the Hope we have in a Savior who came as a baby, lived a perfect life and died for us that He might provide a rescue from sin and death.
For the mama who just left the hospital without her baby, hope feels shattered, distant, impossible.
Let us spend the days of Advent together, reminding our hearts and our heads of that Hope. Let’s be reminded of the promises that God has given us. Because while your hope may feel shattered or distant or even a lie, God’s promises remain the same. When our hope is in Him, our hope is unwavering. The promises of God are as true for you today as they ever were. And I believe they have the ability to bring you much joy this Advent season.
ADVENT DAY ONE
“At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”
Luke 1:39-45 tells us the story of Mary, who has just heard from an angel that she will have a baby and she immediately and hurriedly goes to share this good news (and terrifying news, yes?) with her cousin Elizabeth. And upon seeing Mary, Elizabeth rejoices (loudly!): “Blessed are you Mary!”
BLESSED + PROMISES
Why does Elizabeth say Mary blessed?
Because “she has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her.“
Often we take that verse and apply it similarly to the way we apply a verse like Jeremiah 29:11 – God has good plans for us – but we apply our own definition of “good” and “promises” to those verses; a definition that is often far from what God has deemed good. We tend to define blessed and good and promises by our circumstances, what we can see here on earth, what we, in our finite minds, think is best for us. And if our definition of good is all tied up in good circumstances and our definition of God’s goodness is all tied up in what we have defined as good, then when our heart gets broken, when we face loss, when we leave a hospital with empty arms, we lose faith in God.
Elizabeth calls Mary blessed, not because her circumstances were exactly the way she thought they should be, in fact she was facing much unknown regarding her future. In fact, Mary would face burying her own Son. And yet she is called blessed.
Why? Because she believed God and she believed His promises.
And what promises did she believe? Promises that she would never experience heart ache or pain or disappointment or fear? No, the promises Mary put her hope in were those spoken over her in verses 31-33:
You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.
The promise that God spoke over Mary, the promise that she believed and the promise we can believe as we begin this Advent season is this:
God has given us His Son. A Savior. A Redeemer. A KING. A King who rules perfectly and without end. A King who is in control. A King who is working. A King who cares about His people. A King who will one day return. That is a promise that He fulfilled PERFECTLY. That is a promise we can believe in today and be BLESSED. That was not a promise that everything in our lives would be our definition of good, but this promise is better and it’s forever.
During this Advent series I will share a promise that God has given us, a promise we can trust, a promise that is better than our definition of good. My prayer is that those promises would bring our hearts great joy, causing our hearts to trust our Father, our Savior and our King, through what may be a very difficult Christmas season.