Advent

Lights are everywhere. Stretching over rooftops and wrapped around street lights. You can see Christmas trees through the windows dazzling with lights that look like stars. If I had to name off my top five favorite things about Christmas-the lights would make the list. Something about them makes me so joyful and peaceful.  The shorter days become more bearable because when it gets dark outside we can see twinkling stars closer to the ground. A little bit closer to heaven. Growing up in a Methodist church my family has always celebrated Advent during Christmas time. Well let me rephrase that. I halfheartedley paid attention to the advent readings in church and me and my siblings fought over who could light and blow out the advent candles at the dinner table. I never really studied and dug deep into the meaning of advent on my own. I recently started a couple of Advent studies in my handy-dandy Bible app. One of them being “Wating Here For You: An Advent Journey of Hope” by Louie Giglio. If you want to get to know the good and meaningful message of Advent I really recommend this study.

Advent means: Coming, expectation, arrival, dawn, awaiting hope. Everyone is waiting on something. Whether it be an answered prayer, a sign from God, a new job, a promotion, the end of one season and the beginning of another-just something to hope for. The meaning of Advent comforts me in knowing that I am not alone in this feeling of constantly waiting. In this Christmas season I have been seeking for that feeling of hope and reassurance for myself-my advent within the advent.

The waiting for Christ to come today is just as glorious and magnificent as the first time the word was spread throughout Bethlehem that the savior of the world had been born. “A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices.” Finally. We are in the second round of waiting. In the moments when we are too tired to keep going, Christ intervenes and brings light in our darkness. And the Holy Spirit fills our towns with the Christmas Spirit. Knowing the the lights throughout the streets bring us hope that the Star Breather of Heaven will bring heaven down to us. To collide with the purpose we have here on earth in addition to the longing of our hearts for something greater and more beautiful than our eyes could find on this side of Heaven. May the lights remind us that Hope came to us, the light of the world came into the world to give us hope. In our own seasons of advent, God is present. He is not of the world but in the world in the form of things that bring light to our eyes and hope to our hearts.

Portland, Maine

Jennifer and Cole have almost lived in Maine for an entire year. They felt called to move there to help plant a church with some close friends from their first home in Gainesville, Georgia. When my family first found out that Jennifer and Cole could possibly be moving to Maine we all secretly hoped that it wouldn’t happen. Obviously we didn’t want to be so far away from them and planting a church is a huge thing to accomplish. But before we knew it January 2016 they were packing their bags and buying warm coats and snow tires to start their new life in the North.

Jennifer and I get to talk on the phone pretty much everyday on our way home from work. She tells me about her worries and how she misses home but always finishes by saying that she knows her living in Maine is part of God’s will. Over time God has changed my heart from being mad and upset that my sister is so far away to having a heart that admires her bravery and commitment to God. No matter how long she lives in Maine I hope she knows that millions of people crave to be brave and devoted like her and the group of people up there planting that church. Mama, Christi and I got to visit for a weekend and attend the very first church service and it was amazing. Centerpoint Church in Portland, Maine will grow into a thriving heartbeat for God’s people and the Holy Spirit was moving throughout the first service. God is good and I was reminded that His will is being completed all over the world-even up in Portland, Maine.