This is the most wonderful time of the year! Advent. It marks the beginning of the new year on the Christian calendar and invites us to prepare ourselves for the arrival of a long awaited, anxiously anticipated, highly honored guest … Jesus. Advent stretches across the four Sundays prior to Christmas day. Each Sunday is represented with the lighting of a candle that represents one of four themes of the season: hope, peace, joy, and love. Finally, in the center of every advent wreath, you find a large white candle. This light producer is lit on Christmas eve representing Jesus, the one true light of the world.
So how does advent impact you and me? It is much like the season of lent where we set aside a period of time to prepare ourselves. Lent is a time to clean out the junk that has accumulated in our souls. Lent is a time to deal with our sin, consecrate our lives to become new in the season of resurrection. Advent is different. Advent is all about anticipation, excitement, and waiting. We prepare to receive the most honored life changing guest ever known. We prepare our hearts and our homes to be changed by his arrival.
Advent is different from the holiday season of our society. This time of year most people are driven by the undercurrent of society called consumerism. Its message is to shop until you drop! Go go go until you can go no more! The message of advent is counter to consumerism. Its message is …wait. Slow down and dream. Breath deeply and consider the exciting journey you will embark upon if hope, peace, joy, and love arrive in your heart and home at Jesus’ birth. Consumerism leaves us unsatisfied and regretful. “I didn’t get what I wanted,” “The kids didn’t show up this year” or simply, “I can’t believe its over.” While Advent leaves us filled to overflowing with joy. “I can’t believe all I received!” “He actually arrived to me and my family!” and “I cannot believe it has only just begun.”
This advent try a few things;
- Slow down – take one night a week, turn off all technology and just be with someone you love.
- Wait – Say no to at least one party, present, gift or goodie. Just wait.
- Dream – What if you meet personally with the Son of God himself this Christmas?
- Pray – Pray for someone who doesn’t know Jesus to experience him personally this season.
May this season be filled with the Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love as you anxiously await the arrival of the light of the world.