By: Hannah Fatheree
I’m sitting on the couch watching Elf, enjoying a bowl of popcorn, and listening to the crackle of the logs in the fireplace. I glance at our beautifully-lit Christmas tree in the corner with all the presents wrapped, ready to be opened. Excitement rushes through my veins because I can’t wait to have my family together on Christmas morning, hopefully it will even be snowy.
In the midst of the Holiday anticipation, I started to realize that my focus this season has mostly been on worldly celebrations. This year has taken a lot from all of us: routine, certainty, normalcy, etc. I got so wrapped up in feeling normal again: pursuing our Christmas traditions, buying gifts, and decorating, that I lost sight of why we pause, reflect, and rejoice this time of year.
This Advent season, I started reading a daily devotional, to take me through what Advent means and how it still shapes our lives to this day. Advent is the celebration of Jesus coming into this world and our anticipation of His second coming.
We can infer from Luke 1:29 that Mary felt uneasy when she discovered she would be the earthly mother of Jesus. Uneasiness would be more than understandable, and I can only imagine the weight and pressure she must have felt. The angel Gabriel encourages Mary stating she had found favor with God and Jesus would be the Son of the Most High (Luke 1:32). In the first coming, Jesus was born to serve as the atonement of our sins, rescuing us from the punishment we deserve (John 3:16). Jesus’ birth signified the opportunity to spend eternity with Him, but the work doesn’t stop there.
While we don’t know when He will return, scripture tells that the second coming will bring healing, restoration and righteousness. Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is King (Philippians 2:10-11).
As we anticipate His second coming, we’re faced with a question: What do we do with the in-between? We know what happened and what will happen, but how we spend this time in between matters. We’re called to live out scripture and bear much fruit, but what does that mean for our day-to-day lives?
- Take root in Him. To have a relationship with Jesus, we must seek Him with all our heart (Jeremiah 29:13). It’s important to remember that His ways are higher than our ways, and His plan is far better than our plan. Rooting yourself in Jesus includes frequent prayer, time in the Word, time in community, and worship. Set up specific times each day to dive in the Word, worship on your way to school or work, or join a small group.
- Make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19). Share His name and glory with those around you: classmates, coworkers, friends and family. A big testimony to those individuals includes sharing what He has done in your life and how He has radically changed you. We should desire to share the freedom we have experienced only through Christ. If you’re not sure who to share with, pray for God to plant the right people in your life.
- Be in the world but not of the world. What we have on Earth is only temporary. Remember that we live differently when we follow Jesus. We speak a language of love, leading with grace and landing in truth.
- Don’t simply enjoy what He’s done, but engage in what He’s doing. It’s easy to sit back and delight in His goodness, but don’t stop there! Jesus can do far more in you when you’re engaged. You’ll be amazed at all that He’s doing when you take a front row seat.
We live between His promise and His rescue. As we wrap up the Advent season and prepare for a new year, I challenge you to think about where your focus has been lately. Maybe you’re like me and have desired to obtain normalcy and that desire has created further distraction from your purpose. Or maybe this season has been extremely tough and it’s difficult to remember His promises. Regardless of where you’re at, consider and pray what your next step should be as we anticipate His second coming.
Hannah currently resides in Knoxville, Tennessee with her husband Taylor and works as an event planner. In her free time, she enjoys hiking in the Smoky Mountains, training for marathons, or sipping on a cup of coffee with friends. Hannah is passionate about helping others find Biblical community in their season of life. Through Captivating Community, she seeks to encourage and equip women in their walk with Christ.