Advent happens at a fun time of year. It’s getting cold outside, people decorate their houses, lawns and yards with lights, wreaths and other fun things from the Christmas section of the store. We get busy shopping for gifts for loved ones, liked ones, those we tolerate, and those we can’t get away with not getting a gift. And all of these things are great ways to recognize and celebrate the gift of Jesus Christ. They are great ways to acknowledge the absolute grace and mercy of his incarnation and God’s choice to become one of us and live among us.
But Advent is also about recognizing the ways God still moves among us and expecting the second coming of Christ in final victory over sin and death. Advent gives us the opportunity to celebrate the past event of Christ’s incarnation, to feel the movement of the Holy Spirit, and to prepare ourselves for and proclaim the advent of Christ’s return.
We shortchange ourselves when we fail to acknowledge and embrace all three facets of the Advent season. As Christians, Advent marks our new year and when we celebrate Advent in all of its glory we lay a foundation for celebrating what God has done, is doing and will do among God’s people for the rest of the Christian years.
An Advent Prayer:
O God, we are challenged to be patient during these days of Advent. Yet we find ourselves growing less patient as we wait in slow retail lines, manage our overfilled calendars, wrap gifts, and do online shopping and home decorating into the late night hours. Be patient? Yes, be patient. In this worshipful season, strengthen our hearts, center our minds, and quiet our bodies, for your coming is near. We pray as your beloved ones. Amen
From Worship and Song: Leader’s Edition; Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2011, #1; by David Bell, ©2007 General Board of Discipleship.