The First Sunday of Advent
Open Your Bible
As a Michigander in the ’90s, our snowy season often stretched from October to April. I remember shivering through Easter morning photos in my hat and gloves, celebrating spring with snow drifts in the church parking lot.
But Christmastime was when all of that accumulation really worked to our advantage. We enjoyed snowy Christmas Eve walks down the middle of unplowed streets, snow forts big enough to gather friends inside, and meeting up with classmates at the best sledding hill in town.
Then we moved to Tennessee. And in the sixteen winters we have lived here, we’ve yet to see a white Christmas. Every year, my longing for the beauty of big flakes of falling snow begins the moment the dessert plates are cleared after Thanksgiving dinner and lasts until we finally see the first snowfall of winter, usually when we’re back in Michigan visiting family.
When our She Reads Truth team started dreaming about Advent 2022, we turned to the lyrics of the hymn “Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus,” (which happens to be both Amanda’s and my all-time favorite Christmas carol). The line, “joy of ev’ry longing heart!” connected with us deeply. We thought about all the longing hearts across the world and through time, and about every man, woman, and child who will read Scripture with us this Advent season. Every one of us, without exception, knows what it means to long for someone or something. But like snow at Christmastime, the earthly things we long for eventually fade away, fail to satisfy, or possibly never come to fruition at all. That’s because the deep-rooted longing of every human heart can only be satisfied by the God who created us and came to us. He is the One we’re longing for.
Advent is a season for preparing our hearts to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. Alongside the women and men of the Old Testament who looked forward to the promised Messiah and those in the early Church who lived on alert for His promised return, we look to the only One who will never change, never fail us, never fade away.
I encourage you, in this season marked by a longing for material things, to begin your Advent journey by examining exactly what it is you’re longing for. Ask yourself what your heart truly desires. And as you journey with us through the lyrics of this old hymn and the ancient, timeless words of Scripture, ask the God who came to dwell with us to align your longings with His and satisfy your heart in Him.
This reading plan was made with you in mind, and our team has prayed for you all along the way as we have curated it. May you anticipate and be satisfied by the God who came to us as a baby and will one day return in glory—Jesus, the joy of every longing heart.