Why It’s Okay to Start Advent Early This Year

There’s a rumor going around that America is going to hell- and both presidential candidates are holding a hand basket that will take it there. I can’t recall another election season that has had so many people simultaneously sighing and crying and saying, “This is the best we can do?” Our entire country is collectively holding its breath in uneasy anticipation of tomorrow’s election results. It’s like watching die-hard sports fans root for their favorite team in the big game, except this time defeat means more than a loss of pride, it means possibly losing everything they’ve ever stood for. It is a critical time in America.

Yet, I woke up this past Saturday morning feeling unmistakable joy and anticipation for Christmas.

It’s a bit early for Christmas joy isn’t it? We haven’t even loosened our belts to accommodate all those extra calories at Thanksgiving yet. The weather is still deciding between fall and summer and people are still getting frowned at for playing a little Christmas music here and there. For goodness sake, election day is tomorrow! How can I be focused on Christmas?

But it wasn’t dreaming of Christmas decorations that lit my heart Saturday morning. It wasn’t the gifts or the trees, or the cookies or the parties. It wasn’t Christmas “season” at all- it was the Christ. Just Christ. Just Jesus. Just, Emmanuel. He is all I’ve ever needed. He is all I need still.

The dictionary definition of Advent is “the arrival of a notable person, thing or event”. The Christian Theological definition of Advent refers to the coming of Christ and is marked on the calendar as the four weeks before Christmas, starting on a Sunday.

I love advent season every year. I love choosing an advent Bible reading plan, love our special advent readings and activities with the kids every night. Love singing songs and setting my heart to Christ’s coming. I love trying to relive the joy and wonder of that first Noel by pouring over that story in Luke.

But I realized something Saturday morning when God woke me up with Christmas on my heart. Maybe this advent season I don’t need to set my heart on waiting for Christ to come. Maybe this year I need to set my heart on the truth that Christ is already here.

We no longer need a star to guide us. We don’t need a chorus of angels to sing. We don’t need to read the prophecies and wonder if this is true. Emmanuel is already with us. He has already come to the earth. He has already made a new way. He has already conquered. He has already won. He is already purposefully involved in the lives of His people on every continent. In every nation. He already reigns supreme. This Advent season we don’t have to sit back and wait for Christ’s coming. He is here!

I think God wants to start Advent season in my heart a bit earlier this year. I think He wants to fill me with expectation and hope and wonder at what God can do and is going RIGHT NOW. I don’t have to wait for the miraculous. I don’t have to wait for communion with Jesus. I don’t have to wait for a new way.

In light of all the things that feel “on the line” and “in the hands” of this election, I think God wants to draw me close and remind me that there is no authority higher than His, no dominion greater that His, no ruler stronger than He- right now. There is no election more important than our election as His sons and daughters. There is NO ONE worthy to lead us save the One who made us. None but Jesus. It is true today and tomorrow and forever.

No matter who wins tomorrow- Jesus has already won. We- His sons and His daughters- we’ve won, too. Will there be hardship and trouble? Jesus said there would be. But He also overcame it all. Already.

And so today and tomorrow and forever, and in this season of waiting and expectation, may my heart be stayed on Emmanuel. May my fears be swallowed in His peace, may my worries be drowned in His rule, may my strength be rooted in His love, may my hope be sure in His authority, may my life be a testimony to His grace.

Presidents change, leadership shifts. But the work I am called to do, the people I am called to love, God’s ultimate plan of reconciling people to Himself- none of this changes no matter who is in the White House and I can do this work right now and tomorrow and always, on this earth.

Take heart. Jesus is no longer coming. He is already here. And He reigns matchless and  supreme forever and ever.

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