The Advent of Jesus reveals the Bible’s singular story of God’s redemption of our fallen world. Advent means coming in Latin, literally an arrival; a coming into place, view, or being. The term most commonly refers to the coming of Jesus Christ. The promise of Advent and a coming Redeemer was told over and over for thousands of years (i.e., Genesis 3:15, 22:18; 2 Samuel 7:8-16, Isaiah 9). I can read about Advent in a few moments. However, God’s faithful people waited thousands of years. What was it like waiting for the Messiah? When Advent actually came, what was it like for Mary and Joseph?
We’re told Joseph was a righteous man (Matthew 1:19) and Mary found favor with God (Luke 1:28). They were faithful followers of God. Their radical and complete obedience despite huge sacrifices makes me think they had read the prophecies! Did they think about the offspring of Abraham crushing the serpent’s head? Did they reflect on the promise to King David that his house and throne would be established forever? Did they read Isaiah 7:14, The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel. They must have wondered, even understood, that God was using them in a mysterious, miraculous way.
2,000 Years of Stories
Reading about the lineage of Jesus Christ in Matthew 1 from Abraham to David (~ 1000 years), David to Babylonian captivity (~ 400 years), and from Israel’s return from captivity to Jesus’ birth (~ 600 years), reveals God’s faithfulness. The names allude to 2,000 years of remarkable stories about people who chose faith in impossible situations and kept on going. They waited in faith, believing, and faithfully continued to follow God. This leads me to wonder about my personal faithfulness as a God-follower.
Life is difficult, even dreadful some days. I watch my husband struggle from his severe brain injury. I try to patiently spend time with my 90-year-old wheelchair-bound mother as I make sure she has what she needs. I interact with my three adult children who are not walking with Jesus. I think about NCF, the staff members, and the enormous work (and budget) involved in ministry to students, nurses, and educators and with the Journal of Christian Nursing. All of us have arduous, difficult, dreadful days in our lives.
Focusing on Faithfulness
This Advent, I’m choosing to focus on the great cloud of witnesses who faithfully waited to be made perfect (Hebrews 11-12). Can I say with Mary, I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as you have said (Luke 1:38)? Can I wait in faith and service as I, too, long for the promise of God to be fulfilled in life after death or when Christ returns?
Kathy Schoonover-Shoffner, PhD, RN, is NCF’s National Director and JCN’s Editor-in-Chief.
Peruse these Christmas-focused article in the Journal of Christian Nursing:
The Nativity: A Postpartum Nurse's Perspective
A Christmas Miracle
The Birthing of Jesus