November 24, 2022 • Life for Leaders
Scripture — Psalm 62:5
For God alone my soul waits in silence,
for my hope is from him.
Advent is coming! In two days we enter the season of Advent, a time to prepare our hearts for a rich celebration of the birth of the Savior. In Advent we wait, wait for God to act. But we wait with hope, confident that at just the right time God will come among us once again.
Advent is coming!
I admit to making a play on words here. As you may know, the word “advent” is derived from the Latin term adventus, which means “visit” or “coming.” So, “Advent is coming!” is just a fancy way to say “Coming is Coming.”
Of course an explanation is needed here. During Advent, Christians focus on the advent of Jesus . . . actually, on two advents. We remember the ancient Jewish longing for God’s salvation through the Messiah, the Anointed King. In this way we yearn for the first advent of Jesus. Also, we get in touch with our own longing for Christ’s return, when God will establish the kingdom of God and wipe away every tear. Thus, Advent stirs up our yearning for the second advent of Jesus.
I realize that we’re not yet in the season of Advent, which begins on Sunday, and continues through Christmas Eve. But it has been my tradition in recent years to write a Life for Leaders devotion about Advent on the Friday after Thanksgiving Day in the United States. Though we’re not quite yet in the official season, it’s right around the corner. I’d like to help you get ready for a rich experience of God’s grace in this special season of the year. I have found Advent to be a time for deepening and enriching my relationship with the Lord. I’d love to help this be true for you also.
I did not grow up with any sense of Advent, other than that this was an odd name for a calendar we used at Christmastime. But, over the years, I have come to value Advent deeply as a distinct season of the Christian year.
Why do I value Advent so much? First, it is a season of preparation for Christmas. It helps our hearts to get ready for a truly joyous celebration of the birth of Jesus. Advent, though, isn’t merely Christmas-lite. It has its own distinctive themes, moods, and colors. Christmas decorations feature red and green, backed up by white, silver, and gold. The major Advent color, depending on your church tradition, is either purple or deep blue, with pink as an optional secondary color. The distinct colors of Advent illustrate the fact that it isn’t only a time to get ready for Christmas. (If you want to learn more about Advent colors, check out Welcome to Advent.)
Above all, Advent is a season of waiting and hoping. Remembering what the Jewish people experienced as they waited and hoped for the Messiah, we also wait and hope for the two advents of Christ. Psalm 62:5 captures the spirit of Advent perfectly: “For God alone my soul waits in silence, for my hope is from him.” Even the mention of silence is an Advent sort of theme. Whereas Christmas celebrations can be happily loud as we belt out “Joy to the World” or the “Hallelujah Chorus,” Advent invites us into a time of quiet reflection.
In a day where there is so much about our world that is disturbed and disturbing, my heart is unusually eager for Advent. The pain in our lives stirs up my hope for God’s salvation. Plus, in this time, we are waiting. Yes, we are waiting for the end of wars and violence on many continents. Yes, we are waiting for an improved economy and for a more just world. But, when we take time to reflect, we realize that we are waiting, most of all, for God. As we read in Psalm 62:1-2, “For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall never be shaken.”
Most of all, in the season of Advent, we are waiting on God. We are waiting to rediscover the wonder of God’s coming to be with us in the person of Jesus. We are waiting for God to speak, comfort, judge, save, and redeem. We are waiting on God to touch our hearts and lives in a new way, to heal our relationships, to mend our broken world. Advent is a season of waiting. Yet we wait with hope, knowing that God will come among us again, making all things new.
P.S. from Mark:
I want to be sure you know about two Advent resources produced by the De Pree Center.
First, we have published a new guide for Advent reflection: Hope is Born – An Advent Journal for Waiting & Working. Through an adaptation of the ancient practice of Lectio Divina, this Advent journal guides you to read or listen to passages of Scripture, reflect on them, ask God for wisdom and understanding, and respond to God’s invitation. It’s a gift for you from the De Pree Center. You can learn more and/or download Hope is Born here.
Second, if you’d like to learn more about Advent, I’ve written a piece that explains the meaning and practices of Advent, and why I value them so much. Check out Welcome to Advent on our website.
What are your thoughts and feelings about Advent?
Does anything in this devotion jump out as something that speaks to you?
Are you planning to celebrate Advent this year? If so, why? If not, why not?
If you have Advent traditions that you cherish, then make plans to invest in those traditions this year. If Advent is new to you, consider adding an Advent practice in your life. You can find lots of ideas in my Welcome to Advent article.
And if you’re looking for an Advent devotional, let me once more recommend Hope is Born, this year’s Advent resource from the De Pree Center.
Gracious God, as we come upon the season of Advent, I would love to draw near to you in a special way. I’d like to enter into this time of hope and waiting in a way that renews my relationship with you. I’d like to prepare my heart for a more meaningful celebration of the birth of Jesus. So I ask you to help me reorient my heart in the coming season. May I be more attentive to you and more in touch with my soul’s longing for you.
For you alone, Lord, my soul waits in silence; from you comes my salvation. You alone are my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall never be shaken. Amen.
Banner image by Greyson Joralemon on Unsplash.
Find all Life for Leaders devotions here. Explore what the Bible has to say about work at the unique website of our partners, the Theology of Work Project’s online commentary. Reflection on today’s Life for Leaders theme can be found here: Anxiety When Unscrupulous People Succeed (Psalms 49, 50, 52, 62).
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Dr. Mark D. Roberts is a Senior Strategist for Fuller’s Max De Pree Center for Leadership, where he focuses on the spiritual development and thriving of leaders. He is the principal writer of the daily devotional, Life for Leaders, and the founder of the De Pree Center’s Flourishing in the Third Third of Life Initiative. Previously, Mark was the Executive Director of the De Pree Center, the lead pastor of a church in Southern California, and the Senior Director of Laity Lodge in Texas. He has written eight books, dozens of articles, and over 2,500 devotions that help people discover the difference God makes in their daily life and leadership. With a Ph.D. in New Testament from Harvard, Mark teaches at Fuller Seminary, most recently in his D.Min. cohort on “Faith, Work, Economics, and Vocation.” Mark is married to Linda, a marriage and family counselor, spiritual director, and executive coach. Their two grown children are educators on the high school and college level.