Waiting: An Advent Medley
Music by Jean Olson

Advent Devotional
Authored by Steve Sveom

Trial and Joy
The church calendar provides us with a template for our real-life as Christian pilgrims.  Advent – Christmas are juxtaposed; Lent – Easter are paired.  The hyphen in both cases is needed for us to live honestly.  Advent and Lent are times of preparation, of longing, of trial.  We have all had desert times when life is dry.  We learn that the finite cannot fulfill our emptiness.  But the hyphen in each case brings us to joy in the reality of Immanuel, God with us, and the exhilaration that “Christ is risen! Christ is risen, indeed!”  The timing of our desert moments and trials may not always correspond to the calendar of the church year.  And the timing of our gladness may not always fall on Christmas Day.  But our real joy is not in fleeting moments of happiness but in the enduring knowledge that life is lived with a hyphen that connects us to the reality that in our trials, our longings, our desert, we have the deep and abiding trust that we are sustained by Immanuel and uplifted by a risen Savior.  As we meet challenges, we also draw closer to our Christmas celebration with joy.