One verse keeps speaking of Advent to me this year. It’s not found in any of the ordinary places. Matthew. Luke, Isaiah, Micah.
Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it. I Peter 3:15 (NLT)
Worship. Christ. Hope. Always be ready. It’s all in there.
Words from Peter. A man familiar with the absence of hope. He denied Christ three times when Jesus needed him most. After our Savior died on the cross, Peter did the only thing he knew to do. He returned to fishing. Can you feel the hopelessness in that decision?
Well, I thought something great was going to happen. But instead, we lost Him. I might as well go back to making a living.
Look around and our world seems hopeless too. And yet. Christ came. Christ will come. All the while, He’s still I Am. Christ is here.
When we offer our lives as worship to Him, we cannot live as a people without hope. It bubbles up most naturally from within.
A little baby went home with his forever family this week. Adoption brings its own flavor of joy. The smiling faces I’ve seen from this family on social media remind me, God offers hope in the midst of turmoil.
Mom and I have spent a lot of time talking about all of the traditions we had in my childhood. Every holiday, we’d usually go to both sets of grandparents in one day. Us kids would fall asleep on the way home, partly from all that food and mostly from the wild, crazy playtime with al those cousins.
Now life looks very different. Our families are spread all across the country. It’s not possible to bring them all together for one day of celebration. The holidays happen when we can schedule them and usually with only a few members of our extended family per season.
Which often leaves me wondering what my daughter will know about traditions. Then, I look at her Advent tree, made by my mother-in-law. Every morning, very first thing, she grabs her Bible and reads a portion of the Bible story before opening up a drawer containing a simple little gift. She’s done this every year since she was two. This year, she's doing it all on her own. I can't even. For 25 days, she learns to always be ready. Just as Zechariah, Elizabeth, Mary, Joseph, the shepherds, Simeon, Anna and the wise men were. Sounds like a tradition to me.
This holiday season, I’m leaving room for lots of worship. I’m reading reflections from Scripture and my Advent calendar every day. I’ve got the Christmas music cranked up a little too loud. Sometimes worship can lead to noisy, wild abandon. A joyful noise indeed. With great intention, I’m only doing one holiday activity at a time. Baking. Wrapping Gifts. Viewing Christmas lights. Attending parties. Writing Christmas cards. I refuse to let any of it interrupt my worship.
We live in a world of chaos and confusion and hurt. Christian hope is the only one I’ve found that offers peace and order and everlasting joy. You as believers have all this inside of you. Always be ready to share it.