The one who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen.
Come, Lord Jesus! (Rev 22:20)
Advent doesn’t get much attention compared to Christmas. It is not difficult to see why. Advent, which means “coming,” is all about waiting. And Christmas means instant gratification with shopping and parties and presents. Advent songs are reflective. And Christmas songs are joyful. No one has ever been to an Advent Party. And Christmas parties fill our calendars. It is no wonder that Advent takes a back seat to Christmas.
Yet, we need Advent. And in this note, I would like to share with you two reasons why you may want to give this overlooked season more attention this year.
First, Advent makes our Christmas celebration all the more meaningful. It helps us see why the birth of our Savior is worth celebrating. With all the busyness of the holiday season it is easy to get bogged down in many other preparations. This season of Advent is a time of preparing for the coming of the Messiah who saves us. The Advent Devotional in our narthex is a wonderful way to do this. The more we recognize that we all need some saving, the more we can rejoice at the Savior’s birth on Christmas morning.
Second, Advent helps us to find Emmanuel – God with us – in our daily lives. Yes, it is important to celebrate Christ’s birth in Bethlehem and to anticipate his future coming. Yet, the scriptures also tell us that he is with us in the here and now. Our Advent worship themes of Hope, Joy, Peace, Love, and Christ’s Light, help us to see him in these days. During this season we will be encouraged in Hope that Jesus does come into our daily living (12/2). We will be reminded of the Joy to be found in our life in Jesus Christ (12/9). We will look for the Peace that Christ brings even in the midst of our struggles and suffering (12/16). We will consider the Love that we receive from our Savior on the last Sunday of Advent (12/23). And on Christmas Eve, we light the Christ Candle to help us better see the Light of Christ transforming the darkness of this world and our own lives. In this season of Advent, we bring these virtues and attributes of Christ into our daily living. He really is with us now as Emmanuel.
Please know, at Saint Andrews, we are not suggesting that any of us turn into Scrooges and abstain from all things Christmas until Dec 25. Hang the Chrismons, sing loudly on Music Sunday and on Christmas Eve, decorate your homes, go to the parties like Carols, Cookies and Claus, give generously and joyfully to those you love and those in need. And while you’re enjoying these, give Advent more attention this year and discover the wonder of Emmanuel this season.
Merry Christmas and Wonderful Advent,