Thoughts from our General Secretary of the RCA, Eddie Aleman:
Daysi and I love road trips! This is one of the things we have in common. In the summer of 2003, after my second year of seminary was done, we drove from Holland, Michigan, to Tulare, California, to serve as a pastoral intern at Tulare Community Church. While we very much enjoyed our time on the road, our children had a very hard time understanding why we needed to be on the road for more than one day. They didn’t care about the journey; they wanted to get to the destination as soon as possible! Waiting, for them, was nonsense. Being in a car for a long period of time was for them the most boring thing on earth. On the way we stopped in different beautiful places like Grand Canyon National Park and Yosemite National Park to give them some kind of joy for the journey, but the “are we there yet?” had no ending. When we finally made it to Tulare, we were happier than them!
Just like a long road trip, Advent is a journey toward a destination. It’s the season of hopeful expectation. It’s a time of waiting. But what is it that we are waiting for during this season? The obvious answer is Christmas! But Advent is more than just waiting for a holiday, and it’s even more than just waiting for the celebration of the birth of Jesus.
Advent is the season that teaches us that we are in journey to a destination, and that we must enjoy the journey as much as we enjoy the destination.
It took more than 700 years for Isaiah’s prophesy about the birth of the Messiah to be fulfilled—that’s a long journey! But, as Paul says it well in Galatians 4:4, “when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.”
When the set time had fully come. What we do during the journey itself is just as important as the destination. How will you spend your time waiting? How are you going to spend your time during the journey?
Please consider these questions as you journey through this season of Advent:
1. What are the places in my life where I am waiting for God to do something?
2. How can I focus on the journey of Advent more than the destination?
3. What can I do to prepare the way for the Lord in my life, my home, my church, and my community?
We must do a better job in enjoying the journey while we wait for God’s appointed time. Our culture has taught us to live in the here and now, and thus we have lost the value of waiting. What does it mean to wait in hope?
Waiting in hope means holding on tight, hoping with expectation and trust, knowing that our Lord is not just making us wait to see how much we can take. Waiting in hope means complete dependence on God, knowing that he will intervene in our affairs and will answer our prayers. Waiting in hope means that we are to be near him at all times, knowing that the only way to enjoy the journey is allowing his presence to guide us. My prayer for each one of you during this season of Advent is that you will enjoy the journey as you await for the final destination.
Have a blessed Christmas, and a blessed journey to it! Eddy Aleman