2019 Advent Devotional

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December 6
Help is on its Way by Rob Douglass
This is my first Christmas since my younger sister died of cancer. Maybe you are like me and have experienced loss this year, or maybe you are in a place where your loss is just around the corner.
We have those moments in life where something has happened, and nothing will ever be the same again. If we lose hope, the pain of past losses or the fear of future losses can imprison us.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer knew a few things about prison and loss, and yet he didn’t lose hope. He was a German pastor who stood valiantly against Hitler and Nazi regime in Germany. He was eventually arrested, imprisoned, and executed.
In December 1933, Bonhoeffer preached a sermon where he compared the human condition to a mining disaster where miners were trapped.
For Bonhoeffer, humans are buried alive. There is nothing that we are able to do to save ourselves from our predicament. We have a sense that someone is “up there” trying to help, but there is no real expectation of it making a difference. He writes that all that remains is “an agonizing period of waiting and dying.”
Then suddenly a noise can be heard that sounds like tapping and rock breaking. Before long a voice calls out, “Hold on, help is on the way!” With this, the disheartened miner picks himself up and his heart leaps.
At Christmas, the one who was “up there” came down here so that we could be rescued.
To paraphrase Scripture, Luke 21:28 says, “When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, hold on, don’t give up hope because your help is on its way.” Our rescuer has come and he won’t leave us until we are with him.