category: Advent

Advent 2022

How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I bear pain in my soul, and have sorrow in my heart all day long?

So begins Psalm 13, a lament psalm in which the psalmist calls on God for deliverance from unidentified enemies. How many of us in the recent past have cried out to God using similar words, words that come from similar emotions? Our laments may not be due to oppression by our enemies, however. It may be that life in general has become challenging, so much so that the chaotic state of our divided world has brought us to the breaking point. We, like the psalmist, may even think that God has forgotten us in our distress.

The season of Advent is a stark reminder that God has certainly not forgotten us. In Christ, God has in fact interceded for all of humanity, demonstrating God’s love for all people by becoming a human being and living here on earth, and in the end obediently giving himself up on the cross and being raised for the salvation of all. The cross is evidence that God can take the worst that human beings can do and use it for good.

Thus, Advent provides us the answer to the psalmist’s (and perhaps our) question of “will you forget us forever?” The answer is that God has never forgotten us, nor will God ever forget us. God more than any of us understands the lamentable state of our world. God sees the wars that we wage against one another, the violence we inflict on one another; God sees the divisions we create among ourselves, divisions that are based on race, affluence, education, and religion. God sees the ways in which we pollute the beautiful creation in which we are privileged to live. God has seen all of this and has sent Jesus Christ to deliver us from ourselves. 

Advent therefore gives us a sense of hope. We consider Jesus’ lying in the feeding trough in Bethlehem, and we know that God has not forgotten us. God has recognized the trouble we have caused for ourselves, and he has come to our rescue. We also remember, however, that God has promised to make all things right, and so we look forward to that day when Christ returns and removes our defeated enemy once and for all. We live in the “already but not yet”; Jesus has already come but evil has not yet been taken away. Advent reminds us that God’s promise is still in effect.

Our prayer is that the devotions in this booklet will remind you of God’s grace and provide you with hope this season. I am thankful for my colleagues Lisa Hollifield and Cal Robertson who have worked diligently on this project. I am also grateful for the vision that our friend and colleague Dan Goodman had that resulted in many years of Advent devotionals. May God bless you and yours greatly in this Advent season.

Jim McConnell,
Associate Dean
Professor of New Testament Interpretation

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