I started this blog eight years ago. At the time I was leading a discipleship group, and one of our activities was to read through the Bible together. I kept finding myself on almost a daily basis e-mailing or texting the group to illuminate a point that I wanted to make sure they noticed. After three weeks of this routine, I decided to start blogging the thoughts instead. It seemed like a great way to share my thoughts for a larger audience.

For the past eight years I’ve been sending out a post every Monday. Some have been timely, others just thoughts in my head. Many have been related around other topics I’ve been studying for sermons or classes. I’ve been humbled anytime someone commented or shared an encouraging note. It’s still hard to believe, at times, that anyone would use their time to read my words. To imagine that God could use those to encourage or uplift; I’m speechless.

For lent this year, I made the decision to drop off of social media. It seemed to be an activity that took more and more of my time, without much benefit. I enjoyed hearing from friends, but so much of it seemed negative. There were people sitting in front of me to interact with instead of my 800 friends. So I logged off. At the time, I told some close friends I might never log on again, and for the most part, that has been true. I have missed learning information about those I care about, but I have enjoyed no longer reading the negative posts.

At that same time, I started to ponder, perhaps this needed to be the final year for the blog as well. It has been a blessing, but eight years is a long time for anything. Perhaps it was time to try something different. I’m not promising to be done with blogging forever. In fact, I have a feeling that perhaps God may have me use this medium in the future at some point for God’s glory. However, for now, it seemed a break might be in order. I progressed through the year without really sharing this insight, wondering about confirmation of what is best. While I am not certain I’ve heard “the voice of the LORD” I don’t think I’ve heard a message that says I must continue. Thus, perhaps a break is best.

December marks the end of our calendar year. It’s a time when many things come to a close. Yet, in the Christian Calendar, the season of Advent is the beginning. It’s the first season of the new year. It is a time of new beginnings, new hope. We wait with hope for Christmas, for the coming of the true King.

My favorite time to preach all year is during the season of Advent. I love the themes of waiting and hope. I love hopefully longing for God to make the world right. I find many of the themes resonating in my own life, and that’s probably why I enjoy preaching during this season most of all.

Perhaps it’s fitting that I’m ending this blog at the end of Advent, for I have been in my own personal time of waiting. It’s hard to wait. We live in a society that doesn’t like to wait, and I find myself more influenced by the current culture than I want to admit. Waiting is hard, and much of life is waiting. Waiting for a holiday. Waiting for a change in season. Waiting for something new to happen. The waiting has been personally difficult because I want answers. In the waiting it is easy to succumb to fear. The future could be beautiful or troubling. It’s hard to wait in those circumstances. Yet in the waiting, God is preparing for something new. God is not absent. God is active, even when it seems we continue to wait.

Waiting is hard, but it is filled with hope. While I wait, I draw closer to God. While I wait, I know that I am not alone. I long for answers, while knowing that the only true answer that will make things right, is the coming of Christ. It is difficult to wait, but waiting in itself isn’t bad, because each day I know we are one day closer.

I may be ending this blog as Advent ends, but that doesn’t mean everything is ending. The year is just beginning, and God is still preparing to use me (and you) to do something in the Kingdom. The time of waiting is a time of preparation. God is preparing all of us for the task ahead. I don’t know what that task may be, but I feel confident, as one door closes, another is waiting to be explored.

So whether you’ve been following along for eight years, or just a few months, thank you for honoring me with your time. I’m truly humbled.

And for all of us, as we close one section and head to the future, wait with hope. For we have just celebrated the coming of Christ, and one day soon we will celebrate the coming of Christ again. There is hope. In the in-between time, may we live faithfully always pointing to the hope we have in Jesus Christ.

I’ll sign off the same way I sign off every sermon, an adaptation of the high priestly blessing…May the LORD bless you and keep you, may the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you. And may he, give you peace. Amen.