Written by Katie Walker:

Advent… the time of continual expectancy. The season of Advent is full of hope that things will get better – that broken things will be fixed, that lost things will be found, and that regrettable things will be redeemed and restored.

We’re all looking for a saving grace, be it a person, a job, a possession, a degree, a stamp of approval, or a dollar amount. We all want something to tell us, “Things will get better.”

Thus enters both the promise and the pain of Christmas.

This year of challenging and difficult days has put me in a raw place emotionally as Christmas draws nearer. This season of hope resonates deep within me. Hope. It calls to me from a distance, beckoning me to come close. Like a church bell ringing out over a snow-covered town, it is beautiful and peaceful. Christmas is a distinct change of season. The weather, the decorations, the radio, the cookies, the bells, the movies – all signifiers that this month of December is different from the rest. That is what we hope for: a change of season. A better, happier season, yes, that is what I want.

Christmas always splits me into an emotional schizophrenic. Excitement, love, and joy all bubble up inside of me and burst out in song and sometimes very spastic dance. However, there’s also another basket of emotions that the coming Christmas brings: sadness, deep weariness, loneliness, insatiable longing, and a desperate and silent pleading for something better than expected.

Jesus came. And left.

And He hasn’t come back yet.

Christmas marks the first coming of Christ – the time He came to mark us and claim us as His own.

But Advent, the season of Advent, well now that’s a sign, a reminder of the time that has yet to come – the time when Jesus will come back, not as a baby, but as the reigning King, and He will take us to the ultimate Better. Advent ignites the longing in us for the final coming of the LORD, when He will restore all things, when He will find and fix, when He will make everything better – much, much better.