Advent 2017: Joy to the World

Day 3: God’s Covenant with Abram

Genesis 12:1-9, Genesis 21:1-7, Genesis 22:15-18, John 8:56-58

We spend most of our days longing.

In hunger, we long for food, in thirst, for drink. On Monday, we long for the weekend. Each day, we long for the greener grass on the other side of the fence. How often do we see our longings fulfilled? In a world that breeds perpetual dissatisfaction, the longing of Advent, the longing for Christmas, can easily get lost in the muddle of the rest of our temporal longings.

When Abram set out from his homeland, leaving behind every familiar face and place, the sights and smells that held together all his memories, he left with only a promise. God had set him forth on a journey of perpetual longing—longing for a homeland, for a child, for blessing. As the decades passed, and the journey continued, and there was no child, and Abram and Sarai aged, how tempting it must have been to get lost in the chaos of perpetual dissatisfaction. Yet, Abram journeyed on. In the midst of the wilderness, and even in the seasons of barrenness, Abram called on the name of the Lord. What faith is this, that perseveres in the deserted valleys, and endures in the wasteland?

Abram’s faith, however, did not just endure; it thrived. “Your father Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day,” said Jesus (John 8:56). He saw it and was glad. Joy in the wilderness! This is the hope of the gospel and the promise of Advent.

The longing of Abram was not listless and languid, but robust and full of hope. It was full of hope because Christ, the I Am, was there, even before Abraham. How much more ought we, who have not only received the promise but have also seen it fulfilled, rejoice and be glad? As our hearts long for the final fulfillment, for the new heavens and the new earth, we already have the promise present with us: God with us, Emmanuel. In this weary world, God has brought joy and made laughter for us.

May we, with the eyes of faith, see as Abram did. May we see and be glad. Rejoice! Christ, the I Am, has come!

Written by Caleb Faires