Advent: Look Ahead with Hope through Sabbath
by Albert Cheng
Along with other members of his church—Christ Community Church in Fayetteville, board member Albert Cheng was asked to contribute to an Advent Devotional for this season. Here is his reflection on the rest that Christ promises.
And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day. Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation. -Genesis 1:31-2:3
In “Learning in War-Time,” C.S. Lewis wrote that studying the past was valuable for understanding our current circumstances, “not that the past has any magic about it, but because we cannot study the future, and yet need something to set against the present.” Reflecting on the beginning of things before sin’s ruin helps us remember not only how things used to be or how things aren’t that way now but also how things will be. When God finished creation, everything was as it should be. Everything was at rest. Although things aren’t like that now, they will be again. We look back during Advent to look ahead with hope. Christ, the child of promise, assures us. I often pray to enter that rest and leave you with a Sabbath poem that I wrote during a personally challenging time.
Like a newborn babe at his mother’s breast
In quiet comfort, quintessential rest,
Blanket me, bundle me, over me brood.
Swaddle me in Your shadow that I would
Feel the weight of Hesed love as I wait
To hear Your whisper: “Peace. Be still.” Abate
The storm without, within. Once again speak
As You did in the beginning, that week
When form filled formlessness and chaos came
To rest in “very good” order. Your Name
Is what holds all things together. So hold
Me in your sure embrace. In grace enfold
My stirrings so I can hear the words You say.
Make me as things were on the seventh day.