This Advent season, The Foundry Community will be going through Long-Expected Jesus: An Advent Devotional together. Find out more information on how you can participate here.
Today, our editor for Long-Expected Jesus was kind enough to share about her experience while working on this project. Thanks Audra!
Advent, like any other holiday observance on the calendar, can be hard and confusing to celebrate depending on where life finds us when it rolls around each year. Just like Thanksgiving can be tough if we don’t have a lot of family, or if we can’t be with family, and Christmas can be tough when we’re grieving a loss, Advent can be hard for a couple different reasons. If we’re feeling alone or if we’re grieving a loss or hardship, Advent may not feel all that helpful because it’s all about waiting and wondering when things are going to get better. On the other side of the coin, if we’re feeling perfectly peachy keen and everything’s going well, Advent can feel emotionally dissonant, and it can be difficult to relate to or properly celebrate something we can’t feel.
Holidays are weird like that. It’s not like they coordinate with the forces of life to make sure transformative events—whether good or bad—always line up just so with the Christian calendar (but then, other times it seems like they do). But sometimes Advent hits us just right, and everything clicks into place for just a quick second. And we get what the waiting and suffering and hoping and expecting and waiting some more are all about. Editing this year’s Advent resource was like that for me, even though it was July when I worked on it (see, there’s that issue again of the holidays not lining up perfectly with the rest of life).
Long-Expected Jesus was—for me, at the stage of life I was in when it came across my desk—something that made Advent really click at just the right time in my spiritual formation journey. The way the writers so skillfully—almost artistically—connected Scripture to real life to the Lord Jesus made me wonder how each new reflection could possibly be as good as the last—and then it was.
God used these thought-provoking reflections to get me thinking differently about Advent this year. And, since I got a little bit of a head start, I’m looking forward to journeying through Long-Expected Jesus once again, with the rest of you.
Dana Bowman demonstrates generational redemption in her recovery from alcoholism. “Did you ever think that your addiction—and your recovery—are a gift to your children?”
Shawna Songer Gaines pulls back the tapestry to reveal the so-obvious-not-sure-how-I-didn’t-see-it-before connection between the old and new covenants. “In the midst of this confusion and clamor for answers, God speaks.”
Michael Palmer urges me to forgive the darkness I find in myself. “We all have a basement inside ourselves—and we all hate what resides there.”
Robbie Cansler convicts me over how I’ve let fear disable my faith. “It’s no wonder that ‘Do not be afraid’ is such an integral part of the Christmas message.”
Carla Sunberg challenges me to be a faithful messenger. “We are to desire to know the Messiah in such an intimate way that he becomes a part of our very being. Then we carry the divine messenger into a dark, hurting world that needs a light.”
Tim Gaines reminds me that God may not conform to my expectations even as God calls me to be faithfully expectant. “But what if what we are waiting for is something God does that we didn’t expect?”
Shawn Smucker points me toward the spoken Word of God in a world where God feels silent. “Thank goodness not all is as it appears.”
Brit Bolerjack assures me in my most desperate hour that I—like the Virgin Mary, and like Jesus Christ himself—am chosen by God, for this world, in this moment. “God’s faithful love is revealed through human beings; you and I are the continuation of this long line of incarnation.”
God used these and the rest of the thought-provoking reflections to get me thinking differently about Advent this year. And, since I got a little bit of a head start, I’m looking forward to journeying through Long-Expected Jesus once again, with the rest of you. I hope you’ll join us, expecting to be encouraged and blessed as we anticipate together the arrival of our Lord. Just remember not to define your expectations too rigidly—because God may have some different ideas in mind for you, and for all of us. May God be with you as you wait in hope and faith this Advent season.
Have you purchased your copy of Long-Expected Jesus? Get your copy today for only $9.99 using code LEFB and check back on November 13th for the community reading plan!