I love adventure, don’t you? Some time ago, I wrote a series of posts on my website titled “Adventure Awaits,” the theme for our big trip. How exciting it was for my husband, Ron, and me to venture 32 days across the Northwest US, 11-states, 7323 miles, hauling our cute little travel trailer – just the perfect size for the two of us.Our adventure took us over 10,000 ft. mountain passes, sometimes our truck and trailer slowly climbing miles up steep grades along hot, winding highways cut into the sides of mountains, with cliffs dropping beside us thousands of feet. Mountain goats climbed rocky cliffs nearby. Trails led us to bears nibbling huckleberry bushes, and to elk munching pasture grass. Along the side roads, buffalo clipped the pavement beside side us, close enough to touch. Coastline roads took us to bobs of barking seals in colonies on small islands; large walruses, like granite rocks lay amongst them. Geysers ejected turbulent steaming waters and Fumaroles emitted gaseous vapors just a few feet in front of us. Green ferns the size of men and Redwoods towering like skyscrapers demanded our attention and created an awe in our inmost spirits, which will not soon be forgotten. The heat poured out of the atmosphere like an open oven door in the July western climate, and wildfires trailed us as we turned from our southernmost point and headed northeast throughout the last days of our travel.
The dictionary defines “adventure” as an “exciting undertaking,” and that it was indeed! It was amazing and we loved every minute. (Click here to read the first of the “Adventure Awaits” posts about the trip.)
I had prepared for our July “Adventure Awaits” trip for months, diligently planning our route and reserving campsites, booking boat trips and National Park entrance passes, preparing meals ahead, and finally, packing the trailer. The preparation and anticipation were nearly as exciting as the trip itself.
Now the Advent season is upon us. “Advent Awaits” has become our next theme. Like the preparation for our big trip, the advent season is normally an exciting time of preparation, too, filled with joy! Preparing for the upcoming Christmas is blessed: Buying gifts for those we love. Decorating the house and tree. Contemplating the manger scene, we recognize why Jesus came to Earth. We hear and sing carols, such as “O Holy Night . . Truly He taught us to love one another . . . Chains shall he break, for the slave is His brother.” I listen to a recording of my mother’s favorite – “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear.” We cherish memories of joyous Christmases past, and we remember the sad ones, as well. Brokenness of the past tries to rob me of the joy of preparation. The memories could suffocate me if I allowed them to. I look no further than my neighbor to see a grieving family this year. I know the feeling. I’ve been there, and a pit within me still holds that agony. My heart breaks for our broken world. However, “Advent Awaits”!
The dictionary defines “advent” as “the arrival of something notable; the coming into place; view.”
Advent invites us to prepare our hearts, broken or not, no matter our present circumstances – for Bethlehem. For Jesus. Advent opens the door – unveils the opportunity to look to Bethlehem. Because of Jesus. And with this advent, comes Hope!
Louis Giglio recently wrote,
“The word ‘Advent’ means expectation. What advent can do for us is provide a sense of hope.”
So, this Advent season, I encourage you to join me in looking ahead. There, in the manger, lies the Hope of the world – the Savior. I’ve always needed Him and the Hope He offers! And I’ve always found that Hope He promises and brings. I’ve written about Hope – in fact, an entire chapter – in When Life Roars, Jesus Whispers. This excerpt speaks of just one of the many times God brought us Hope:
“God was renewing us through hope. We were fixing our eyes on what we could not see. As I read the Bible, I saw things that I had never before seen while reading the same words many times throughout my life. Was this the “Spirit of wisdom and revelation,” for which I had prayed, so that I could “know him better”?[i] Was it God highlighting the words I needed to see at this time? I believed it was. What a loving God I had, who would give me this wisdom and revelation so that I could “know Him better”[ii] and “know the hope to which He had called”[iii] me!
The Advent season invites us to Hope. It gives us the Hope of a bright future. It offers the Hope of healing. And it’s all because of Bethlehem. So let’s prepare our hearts! And with joy, I’ll start the preparation! Join me. “Advent Awaits!”
[i] Ephesians 1:17 NIV
[ii] Ephesians 1:17 NIV
[iii] Ephesians 1:18 NIN