The season of Advent isn't just a few weeks of "pre-Christmas." It's a time when we remember the longing that preceded the Messiah's birth (Christ's first advent) and look forward to His return with longing when Jesus will make all things right (Christ's second advent). Before joy comes mourning. Before hope comes despair. Before peace comes conflict. In Advent, we have the opportunity to "simultaneously see what is broken and hope for what is being made new."
This is what drives our Prayer Focus for December as a congregation praying for those who are hurting or who are without hope. Not to have opportunities to offer merry platitudes, but to be present in their pain and brokenness while knowing that joy comes when the night has passed.
There is heartache around us and among us even in this season of hope, peace, joy, and love. This is the dynamic tension in being a disciple of Jesus Christ - we feel sadness & grief for the broken world we live in at the same time we feel hope & joy for the restored world we anticipate.
How can you be present in the pain of this world? Can you feel the "ugh" of the heartache of people you know?
Remember that Emmanuel has come. God is with us. Live out the truth of Christmas to all that you come across.