When I was 10 years old, I experienced two holiday crises: My favorite pie burned in the oven, and a schedule conflict caused me to miss my only opportunity to watch the Winter Warlock sing “Put One Foot in Front of the Other.”

These days, catastrophes like burnt pies and missed cartoons have tumbled to the bottom of my crisis list. In fact, with just a few taps on my phone, I can get a fresh pumpkin pie delivered from Uber Eats while I play, pause and replay any holiday classic in high-def, in my living room, on demand. As my iPhone and smart TV attempt to resolve all my social and personal calamities, I humbly realize there’s no technology solution that offers me a pause button for events that are unfolding in the fast-paced world around me.

A Tension Between Chaos and Advent

As I reflect on this past year, I see a time filled with trials and triumphs, challenges and changes; some good, many painful. Looking forward, I wonder what will happen in 2022. As this year draws to a close, breaking news and Advent are competing for my attention. Media sources attempt to make sense of global chaos, and Advent challenges me to pause and recall the indisputable facts upon which my hope and security truly rest. Advent reminds me to adjust my focus from the temporal to the eternal, and I’m gently reminded to turn my eyes to the One who knows the future, rather than focus on what’s around me!

As this year draws to a close, breaking news and Advent are competing for my attention.

Two Scriptures seem especially important right now:

Jeremiah 29:11—”For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Hebrews 12:2-3—”Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”

God’s Word is a reliable source of illumination in this age of great uncertainty and darkness. My Bible reminds me that God, through Christ, accomplished all His plans for His people, and He will finish what He started (Romans 8). Since God created me, and I am His workmanship, my responsibility is to do the good works that He prepared in advance for me to do (Ephesians 2:10). As 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 challenges me … I do this because I am not my own, I was bought with a price.

The Source of True Comfort

My comfort will never come from social media, public policy or the latest vaccine. My blessed assurance is that God sovereignly governs His universe and He transforms all events and trials into key opportunities to glorify Himself and prosper His people. He is not a God who harms us. He is a God who helps us, rescues us and gives us hope and a future. He is a God who uses the dark moments and difficult experiences of our lives to teach us important lessons about His power, His faithfulness, His love and the great need we have to grow nearer and more dependent on Him.

My comfort will never come from social media, public policy or the latest vaccine.

One thing is certain for 2022 … as I fix my eyes on Jesus, I have no reason to fear the year that lies ahead. The coming year is no threat to me or to God, God’s kingdom or God’s authority. Jesus achieved the victory and I am an adopted child in His family. God’s hope and God’s peace is available to me wherever I am, and I can rest as His plans are worked out in the middle of every storm that comes my way.

A Prayer for Advent 2021

Great God in heaven, our lives are in your hands. We praise you for the joys and triumphs you brought to us this past year. We also thank you for the challenges, difficulties and hardships that brought us to our knees and made us realize as never before how utterly dependent we are on You. Thank you for refining us through the trials we face. Prepare us now to bring glory to Your Name and enable us by Your Spirit to accomplish Your work in the year ahead. It is in the powerful name of Jesus our risen Savior we pray. Amen.