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Advent Devotion, Week 1

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28 Days of Waiting

By Amy Kopecky, Director of Contemporary Music

As long as I can remember, my family has decorated for Christmas the Friday after Thanksgiving. This year we rejoiced that this was one tradition a pandemic couldn’t shake and pulled our bins from the attic like rebels. Because I was holding a baby, it took about two minutes for excited helpers to fill the living room with ornaments and tinsel and a merry mayhem of madness. 

Miraculously, it all found a place, but we failed to explain an important detail to our five-year-old. The next morning Calum ran into the living room and wailed, “Where are the presents? My stocking is empty!” He thought that because we had decorated, Christmas was the very next day. I had to give him the horrifying news that we have 28 days of waiting. 

Waiting is hard for everyone, including adults. But can you imagine waiting five-hundred years for a Messiah? I really feel for the Israelite nation. Their entire history consisted of waiting—waiting for deliverance from slavery in Egypt, waiting to enter the Promised Land, waiting to be free from Babylonian exile, and worse, they didn’t ever know how long they had to wait. 

Advent is a season of preparation. As we open the doors of our Advent calendars, it’s joyful because we do know how long we have to wait for Christmas. We know the baby Messiah has come and died and risen and death is finished! But we also live on a broken earth with sinful people in a long pandemic where inequality and injustice and poverty have spun us into chaos.

Now we understand a little better. Now we can put ourselves in the place of the Israelites who pleaded for a Savior to rescue them. 

Advent gives us time to acknowledge the weight of our sadness—to cry out to God like the Israelites for salvation from this brokenness. Take some time right now to reflect on where you feel that weight the heaviest this year. What are you mourning? What have you lost? 


The words of "O Come, O Come Emmanuel" can give voice and aching harmony to our pain: 

Ransom captive Israel that mourns in lonely exile here

Free thine own from Satan’s tyranny, From depths of hell Thy people save and give them victory o’er the grave

Cheer us by Thy drawing nigh, disperse the gloomy clouds of night and death’s dark shadows put to flight

Make safe the way that leads on high/And close the path to misery

But our story doesn’t end with pain; it ends with hope, as the refrain of the hymn proclaims: 

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

“But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed” (1 Peter 4:13).

We can rejoice because Jesus’ glory is coming again! We can rejoice because this isn’t the end!

As you prepare your hearts this Advent, sing the words to this beloved hymn and give your Savior your deepest longings. Entrust them in his hands. May you be reminded that your faithful waiting will result in an eternity of Christmas joy.

Prayer: Prince of Peace, thank you for the promise of heaven! Remind us that we already have the most precious gift of all in you, our Savior. Please give us patience to wait in that hope today. Amen.  

Click HERE to listen to "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel"