Thursday, December 2, 2021

Advent for Writers

Lynn H. Blackburn @LynnHBlackburn

Advent is the season of preparation for and anticipation of the coming of Christ. Depending on your faith tradition, you may have grown up observing this season with candles, specific liturgies, particular colors, and themes for each of the four Sundays prior to Christmas Day. 

While the specifics vary somewhat by denomination, one thing seems to be consistent.

Advent always begins with Hope.

I’m doing an Advent Bible study this year, and as I’ve worked on it I’ve found myself thinking about how the hope of Advent can encourage us as writers. 

Advent for Writers
1. Living in Advent. The space between the promise and the fulfillment—is hard. 

Did you know that there were 400 years of silence between the last prophecies about the coming of the Messiah and the birth of Jesus?

Really puts waiting on a response from an editor or an agent in perspective, doesn’t it?

The people of Israel believed that God had given them evidence of His plan and that He would see it through. They clung to that over centuries. 

But pause for a moment and think of the men and women who grew up in the silence. Believing, but never seeing. And yet they taught their children to believe. And then their grandchildren. And great grandchildren. They clung to the hope that God was faithful, and He would do what He said.

I would imagine that somewhere along the line, some began to doubt. To wonder if there was any point in continuing to believe. To question if what they heard and believed was true. 

We do that to, don’t we? When the answers don’t come when we think they should. When there is no response at all from a query we put hours into preparing. When the doors that are opening for everyone else remain firmly closed for us. 

We struggle to hold on to hope. 

When this happens, we have to lean into the truth of God’s word. Unlike the children of Israel, we don’t have prophecies written about our writing. But we do have the evidence of Scripture to indicate that when God has called us to something, He will be faithful to complete it. There is unlimited Hope in that promise!

But with that in mind, we need to be prepared for the possibility that…

2. The fulfillment of the promise may not be quite what we were expecting.
The children of Israel expected a king. Even though in hindsight the prophecies were pretty clear on this one, they were not really expecting a baby. It was a bit of a shock (understatement!) to learn that God’s plan of redemption and deliverance did not include a glorious battle that would end with the children of Israel freed from Roman rule. Instead, the plan involved the manger, the cross, the empty tomb, and freedom from the Law. 

It may not have felt like it to the Israelites in the moment, but it was better for them, and for the entire world, for it to be this way. 

So how does this apply to writers? 

Hold on tight y’all. This one might hurt. DiAnn Mills made this statement at a writing conference, and I have never forgotten it. “Just because God has called you to write does not mean God has called you to publication.” 

If you need to take a few minutes to do some deep breathing, or maybe run outside and scream, go ahead. I’ll wait. 

Are you back? Breathing? With me? Okay.

Do you hope to be a published author? Then by all means, continue to hope, to pursue excellence and take the steps you need to take to make that a possibility. But don’t be so hyper-focused on publication that you lose sight of the fact that God has called you to write for Him and He is the one who gets to decide what that looks like. 

He may choose for you to be a multi-award winning, best-selling, wildly prolific author with a reader base who adores you and would buy your grocery list if you put up on Amazon. 


He may be calling you to write the best church newsletter in your denomination. He may want you to write short stories for your grandchildren, or to write faithfully for a blog or website. He may call you to write in relative obscurity and it is entirely possible that He will ask you to write words for someone who won’t read them for another 100 years.

It may not feel like it to you in the moment, but God’s plan, whatever it is, is better for you, and for the entire world. In this we can continue to Hope.


3. God’s plans are so much bigger than anything we could imagine. 
A baby? A manger? Bethlehem? Shepherds? In the world into which Jesus was born, this was small time. Barely worth noticing. 

But as C.S. Lewis wrote in The Last Battle, “In our world too, a stable once had something inside it that was bigger than our whole world.”

As we write through this season of Advent, I would encourage you to ask God to give you a renewed sense of Hope about your writing. Not because you’re guaranteed a spot on the next bestseller list. But because you’re offering your writing as a sacrifice to the God who used a baby to save the whole world.

Imagine what He will do with you. 

And write with Hope. 

Grace and peace,


Lynn H. Blackburn loves writing romantic suspense because her childhood fantasy was to become a spy, but her grown-up reality is that she's a huge chicken and would have been caught on her first mission. She prefers to live vicariously through her characters and loves putting them into all kinds of terrifying situations while she's sitting at home safe and sound in her pajamas! 

Lynn’s titles have won the Carol Award, the Selah Award, and the Faith, Hope, and Love Reader’s Choice Award. Her newest series kicked off in March 2021 with Unknown Threat, a 2021 Christy Award finalist. 

She is a frequent conference speaker and has taught writers all over the country. Lynn lives in South Carolina with her true love and their three children. You can follow her real life happily ever after by signing up for her newsletter at and @LynnHBlackburn on Bookbub, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.