"The holiday season with its crowds and festivities moves at warp speed. I have to rush just to keep up. But Advent asks us to decelerate, be still, and rest."
Christmas and the month leading up are characterized by ceaseless activities, shopping and planning. Yes, our goal is to celebrate our Savior, to remember his birth and the hope of the gospel, but it's not easy in the tempest of events.
In Advent: The Season of Hope we're reminded of the value of observing advent for our spiritual formation and discipleship. An invitation to pause, to quiet our minds and bodies, to slow down and reflect on gospel hope.
Advent: The Season of Hope | Book Review
Purpose of the Book
This book is part of the “Fullness of Time” project which aims to provide reflections on seasons and key events of the church year, in this case, the season of Advent, and to help believers understand how the church calendar helps form their Christ-likeness.
Table of Contents
CHAPTER 1 Yearning: Three Advents of Christ
CHAPTER 2 Longing: Four Themes of Advent
CHAPTER 3 Crying Out: Two Prophets of Advent
CHAPTER 4 Stirring: Four Prayers of Advent
CHAPTER 5 Approaching: Eight Practices of Advent
You’ll notice from the contents, this book isn’t long. The author shares insights from church history, reflections on biblical themes of the gospel, and spiritual practices of this season, to equip the church in recollecting the beauty and purpose of celebrating advent.
The Comings of Christ
The word advent is from the latin, adventus, which means “coming.” As we gaze on the season of Christmas, we immediately connect it with the birth of Christ—his coming to earth. We celebrate, rightly, that Christ appeared here in human flesh. However, it’s not only his incarnation we remember, but his coming in the present and in the future.
From the days of the garden sin pervades creation, yet in his grace and mercy God proclaims in Genesis 3:15 a rescuer would come to crush the head of evil. The entire Old Testament looks to and longs for this day.
As we review the grand narrative we call the Christmas story and remember the beauty and humility of his birth we glimpse with awe and curiosity the master plan of God to deliver our Savior in this way.
A sinful world, desperately in need of rescue, rejoices.
Now, we also consider how Christ comes to us in our present moments. Although we’re prone to forget him in the grind of our day to day, he’s ever present and continues to intercede for us. The Spirit teaches us, corrects us and reminds us of his words and his ways. He extends more grace toward us as he shapes and molds us like a patient potter, prunes us as a diligent gardener, and trains us to run the race with the steadfastness of a champion.
This too we celebrate in advent, for he has come and while we live in the already-not-yet time before he returns, he is continuing the good work he began, as we walk with him.
Finally, we wait for his coming again.
During the period of waiting for Israel until the Messiah’s birth, we observe throughout their history both anticipation and apathy. We bear in mind the comings of Christ this season so that the thrill of the gospel renews in our hearts and souls, to guard against indifference and the lukewarm heart of Laodicea.
While I was driving with my youngest, she randomly pipes up with a question, “Mom, will there really be no more crying in heaven?” The innocence of her question, laced with quiet hope made my soul burst with joy. This is why God’s return is exciting, because when he makes all things new again there will be a perfect beauty we can’t imagine and the removal of all the effects of sin, and what a glorious day that will be. When every tribe, nation and tongue will gather around the throne of grace to worship the One who is alpha and omega.
As we celebrate Christ and his advent, past, present and future, may our hearts be strengthened with confidence in who he is and what he’s doing in and around us.
I found it a really good primer in preparing for the advent season and think it’s worth adding to your shelf, particularly if you’re interested in a liturgical perspective. Church history and liturgy has breadth of perspective we don’t often consider.
So, if you’re interested to learn more about how the season of advent points us the gospel and gives us hope, this is a great resource to use.
Introducing the "Fullness of Time" Series
# of Pages: 128 pages
Level of Difficulty: Easy-Moderate
My Rating: 5 stars
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Scriptures About Hope
I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope (Ps 130:5)
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. (Jer 29:11)
Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. (Rom 12:12)
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. (Rom 15:13)
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. (Heb 10:23)
Having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints (Eph 1:18)
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*A big thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the ARC and for the opportunity to post an honest review!