the world as it is - advent devotional

The World As It Is

November 29, 2022
peter englert
Peter Englert

Thomas Merton, an author and priest, wrote an article called, “Advent – Hope or Delusion?” One of his key observations is: 

“…the fact remains that our task is to seek and find Christ in our world as it is, and not as it might be. The fact that the world is other than it might be does not alter the truth that Christ is present in it and that His plan has been neither frustrated nor changed: indeed, all will be done according to His will. Our Advent is a celebration of this hope…” 

John 1:9-13 goes through a series of expectations from the reader of what a Savior would look like. Ultimately, Jesus’s entrance in the world was not the way people expected. He did not come as a king or highly regarded. Rather, He came as a baby to a seemingly overlooked parents – Mary and Joseph.  

As Merton says, “Our task is to seek and find Christ in our world as it is…” The powerful promise of our passage today comes from John 1:12: “Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God…” 

Advent invites us to wait and acknowledge the reality of the world that is. Our ways are not God’s ways. Believing in Jesus means relinquishing our plans and expectations. Our security does not come from the circumstances of this life going our way, rather our security results from our identity as a child of God. We can embrace the reality of this world while realizing Jesus has the final say. That’s Good News. That’s light in the darkness. 

Our challenge is to seek Jesus in our current reality. That means recognizing our expectations of this season and then relinquishing those to Him. That means open our eyes and ears to His agenda – to recognize the people and situations He has placed us in.  


Jesus, I relinquish my expectations of this season. Help me to see my identity as Your child. Open my eyes and ears to the world as it is and where You have me. 


Write down three or four expectations you have about this Advent season. Then take a few moments in silence. Ask Jesus to help you see these expectations as He sees them.  

Photo by Rebecca Peterson-Hall on Unsplash

About The Author

peter englert
Peter Englert

Peter Englert is Adult Ministries Director at Browncroft Community Church. He graduated from the University of Valley Forge with a B.A. in Pastoral Ministry and a M.A. in Theology. He also blogs at

Further reading

You’re Invited to Summer Nights!

As a church, we want to create space to connect with each other during the summer. Instead of replicating the activities we do during the rest of the year, our intention is to provide space for community and reflection. This summer we are trying something brand new called “Browncroft Summer Nights."
Read more

Embracing Summer Sundays: Serving the Next Generation

Summer Serve is a golden opportunity for our church community to engage with the next generation in meaningful ways. By investing time and energy into serving kids, we plant seeds of faith and grow personally as disciples of Christ. Consider signing up to serve at least one Sunday this summer!
Read more

Jesus Culture: Restoring the World Through Ordinary Life

The Church of Jesus is called to be light in a dark world—a world that has always been at odds with the kingdom of God. We are called not simply to defend our faith, but to bring it to life in our homes, schools, workplaces, and communities. Over the month of June, we will be discussing practical ways that we can do this in our everyday lives.
Read more