Fourth Sunday of Advent
I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in Him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.
The Advent season builds anticipation within me every year. I feel a joyous anticipation, one marked with intimate time spent with friends and family, cozy smells and colors, and the wonderful lyricism and movement of NSYNC's Christmas album. But I also feel a more anxious anticipation, marked with achieving the yearly goals I set for myself on the previous January 1st. These goals are oriented towards relationships, career, faith, and stuff. Oftentimes, during the last months of the year, I stress about and yearn to achieve these goals, such that if I do not achieve them, I sometimes feel the entire year to be a failure.
Becoming a member of SMBC and trusting in Jesus, however, has allowed me to view the Advent season with a different kind of anticipation: a joyous anticipation of Christ's coming and recognition that Christ's redemption is available always. Certainly, joy is found in asking for forgiveness and God freely providing it, and there is the great add-on that this can be asked for and received any time. There is no need to wait for an arbitrary deadline and failure to meet such a deadline is not a failure at all. While I feel joy the most around the Advent season, it is comforting to remember the joy of Jesus can happen all year round.
Dear Lord, thank you for the joy and peace found in Your redeeming. Help us to remember the gratitude and goodwill that we feel towards our brothers and sisters during this Advent season, and spread this joyous reminder to one another each day of the year.
Stephen Perry is a member of the Nearly-Newly SS class and is married to Abbie Perry. Stephen and Abbie were baptized together at SMBC in 2017.