This year started with fresh hope and inspiration. We embraced our words for the year, created vision boards, set new year resolutions, and entered 2020 full of dreams of what the year could hold.
This year has not played out as any of us expected or hoped.
Uncertainty has engulfed us. Fear has run rampant. Tragedy has broken us. Truth has been challenging to find. Our schedules have been wiped clean. We’ve been robbed of community and belonging. Isolation, loneliness, depression, and anxiety plague us. We don’t know when it will end.
Amidst the darkness, we’ve simplified our schedules and life. Our priorities have become more evident. We hunger for relationships and community. We have greater access to others through virtual connections. We sense, now more than ever, our own need for Jesus and how great the need for Him is in our world.
So how do we approach Advent this year?
I think we start here:
Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: See, the virgin will become pregnant and give birth to a son, and they will name him Immanuel, which is translated “God is with us.” Matthew 1:22-23
Advent season is a time in which we pause and posture our hearts towards preparing for the arrival of Jesus. We know that through the coming of the Savior of the world, prophecy was fulfilled, and we now have hope and confidence that the prophecies of the second arrival of Jesus will be fulfilled. The appearance of Immanuel brought great promise—God is with us.
In January, we had no clue how a global pandemic would wreck our world—but God is with us. In March, we all began to shelter in place and do life at home—but God is with us. Some became ill and even lost loved ones to the brutal virus—but God is with us. Some lost jobs, closed businesses, and suffered financially—but God is with us. Mental health has been compromised for all of humankind—but God is with us. Families are overwhelmed as they struggle to find ways to work and teach their children virtually—but God is with us. Those caring for those with special needs or caring for their elderly loved ones are exhausted—but God is with us. Church looks different than it ever has before—but God is with us.
And with this in mind, we walk through Advent in 2020. Despite what this year has looked like, there is no question that God is with us. We don’t know what the days ahead hold for us, but we know who has gone before us and who is beside us. So, we will take time each day to fix our eyes on Jesus. We will pause to reflect on the magnitude of what His arrival means for us. Immanuel, God with us, has come, and our lives are forever changed. This is where we find hope. This is where we surrender our desires to have it all figured out. This is where we lay it all at the feet of Jesus, and rest, knowing He is with us. May your hearts be encouraged, and may our precious Jesus wrap you in His nearness this Christmas season.
Whitney Davis currently serves as the National Director of Women's Ministries. She is a wife, mom, encourager, and visionary. She is a South Carolina girl who now calls Oklahoma home. She worked for 12 years as a Labor & Delivery and Mother/Baby nurse before transitioning to full-time ministry to women. Whitney grew up in the IPHC and her husband, Brad, has been an IPHC minister for over 20 years. They have a blended family of five children- Carmen, Evelyn, Sullivan, Ellington, and Deacon.
Whitney has a passion for helping women on the journey of becoming more like Jesus. She desires for Women’s Ministries to be the arm of the church that is uniquely positioned to equip women for the work of discipleship.