Advent & Anticipation

I always loved the advent season growing up in a Brethren church because as a child, it was full of anticipation and wonder. Every Sunday a different child would be called up to help light a new candle in the advent wreath. Familiar songs and scriptures reserved for that season would fill the air to focus our hearts on celebrating the birth of our Savior. 

I feel myself being drawn back to early advent memories this year, in 2020 as a 31-year-old adult, because of the state of our world. I feel a calling back to the anticipation and wonder that advent creates in us as we prepare space in our hearts and lives for Jesus to show up. What if he is planning on showing up in a new way that no one has seen before? What if it will be through a new expression in his people? I want to prepare myself to receive him and I feel the anticipation mounting this advent season.

Advent and anticipation. Weeks of advent. Hope, love, joy, peace.

Each week of Advent has a theme. I believe there’s no coincidence in the order of the themes. Week one of Advent is Hope, then Love, Joy, and lastly Peace for the week we celebrate Jesus’ birth. There’s intentionality in the flow. Hope is awakened in us, then a discovery of God’s love, which leads to joy and anticipation in the waiting, and ultimately peace in the presence of our Savior. 

I love how Steve Backlund says, “Any area of your life that isn’t glistening with hope is under the influence of a lie.” My mind still needs renewal, and areas in my thinking that aren’t glistening with hope I’m learning to surrender to Jesus and ask for his truth in that area. 

Any area of your life that isn't glistening with hope is under the influence of a lie. Steve Backlund

This morning I was led to listen to “Draw Me Close” filmed in 2018 at Bethel. You can watch it here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=si2iDYmFiLw Towards the end they prayed for a two-year-old boy in their community, Jackson Taylor. Jackson was near death at the time. He ended up fully recovering and it was nothing short of the miracle power of Jesus. Jackson’s miracle and breakthrough happened just a couple months after mine.

Just over two years ago I was suffering from chronic illness (Hashimotos Thyroiditis and possibly other things related to a tick bite in 2016) and was physically at the lowest point I had ever been in my life. I had so much pain that it hurt to get out of bed, I couldn’t carry laundry baskets, I couldn’t eat much without major consequences, and I felt like my life and the dreams and promises God had given me were impossible and slipping away. I’d smile through the pain and fatigue, trying to hold on or else I was afraid I’d let myself get completely swept away by discouragement. But Jesus invited me to have hope. I began a journey of discovering God’s goodness and love and receiving his joy in him despite my current circumstances.

In October of 2018, full of hope and anticipation of Jesus breaking through in my life, I experienced FULL healing of an incurable chronic illness. I went forward for prayer at church and felt so desperate for Jesus’ power to break through in my life. I tangibly felt Jesus’ Peace flow through my body like warm water. A few months later bloodwork confirmed what I knew to be true: I was fully healed. I share my story because I believe that my story is a prophetic picture of what God is doing right now. 

I believe that God is inviting us to draw close to Him in our current circumstances because it’s only in His presence that we will see from His perspective and have hope for what he desires to do. He wants us to discover the depths of His love which will naturally cause us to experience and overflow with joy! His peace will then breakthrough into our circumstances, breaking off all that is not in alignment with His will, which is “on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10). I believe that Jesus’ power is about to show up in a way we have never seen and without measure!

“I leave the gift of peace with you—my peace. Not the kind of fragile peace given by the world, but my perfect peace. Don’t yield to fear or be troubled in your hearts—instead, be courageous!” John 14:27 TPT 

It’s time for The Church to believe in Scripture and the words of Jesus, not just as a moral compass, but as Living Words that carry the power needed to breakthrough impossible situations because all things are possible with him. It’s time for us to draw close to Jesus, to have our hearts and minds glistening with hope, to be loved and love others, to be overflowing with joy, and to carry and release his peace into the earth and into the lives of desperate and hurting people.

Do you feel hope being awakened in you? If you have an area or areas in your life that you feel are impossible, you may even be heartsick over them, I invite you to bring them to Jesus and ask him for his perspective and to believe and embrace hope in the power of Jesus showing up in your life and in the world. Pray and believe that “on earth as it is in heaven” is not only possible, it’s God’s will, and the waiting is over – it is happening! Is your anticipation building during this advent season for what He is doing?

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