There is an old hymn that, to me, captures the very heart of Advent and today’s passage:


The hymn’s first verse says:

Come, Thou long expected Jesus

Born to set Thy people free;

From our fears and sins release us,

Let us find our rest in Thee.

Israel’s strength and consolation,

Hope of all the earth Thou art;

Dear desire of every nation,

Joy of every longing heart.


I still get teary-eyed whenever I sing it, especially around Christmas. You see, I can remember a Christmas almost ten years ago where the holiday season ushered in a deep season of suffering. Loss after loss, like a relentless wave, kept hitting our family, and I felt like I could barely keep my head above water. I remember sitting in a church with a broken heart, unable to sing, but prayerfully whispering that song written above. 


And every year since, I have a soft spot for those of us who have lived through holiday seasons while nursing devastating wounds. For some of you reading this, you might be in a season where the idea of Christmas and holidays and celebrations almost seems ridiculous. There is too much pain, loss, and despair in your life to even fathom enjoying the holiday season, let alone celebrate Advent. And yet, I have good news sister. 


Advent is for you, too. 


As Romans 8:25 says, “…we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with endurance.” 


You see, Advent is the joy of every longing heart. Not just the jolliest of hearts around us, but for those whose longings give glimpses into the brokenness this world has to offer. Our passage today reminds us that there will be great suffering in this present age, but God the Father, in His goodness, has made a way through God the Son, Jesus, to prepare a coming glory that will far surpass any suffering that this world inflicts upon us. 


You see, Advent doesn’t ignore your suffering, and it does more than simply make room for it. Advent exists because suffering exists. A longing heart is the crux of our need for Advent. This is what it means to celebrate Advent in the middle of living in a broken world. Our hope, our longing, is for Emmanuel, God with us, to one day do what that old hymn says He will do: Come and restore the joy of every longing heart. 


At the introduction of our Advent study we say, “Advent is a season of acknowledging the brokenness we face in our world every day. We take time to remember and recognize the way the world is, not how it should be, and we wait expectantly for Christ to come and restore peace. In His first coming, Jesus restored our relationship with God that had been broken by sin; when He returns, He will restore the world from pain and suffering, once and for all.”


This is the message Romans 8 brings us today. We eagerly hope and wait for Christ’s return and our coming glory, where He conquers pain and suffering once and for all. And sister, your broken, longing heart, isn’t just welcomed this Advent season, it’s needed. 


Praying for you today, 



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Brittany Salmon

Brittany Salmon

Brittany Salmon is a freelance writer, an adjunct professor of Global Studies, and an equipping minister for her local church. She is also an orphan care and prevention advocate, and a doctoral student at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. She spends her free time eating Chick-fil-A and exploring her new home state of Texas with her husband, four kids, and their dog, Mr. Tom Hanks. You can see what she’s up to on Twitter or Instagram.

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