Advent is here.
Advent is the time in the church calendar when we wait for the coming of the Christ child. It is marked by the observation of the four Sundays prior to Christmas Day. Each Sunday of Advent the church observed a different theme of this journey: hope, peace, love and joy. Candles are lit as the light of the world (Christ) is drawing closer to us.
During this time we are called not to run to the manger but to wait… that’s right…. wait… for Christmas.
Waiting can be difficult in our ultra high paced society. We do not like long lines, emails or voice messages. Waiting for so called ‘fast food’ can send our blood to boil. What do you mean I have to wait? Well how long will it be… I expect to have my burger or chicken or whatever ready and at the appropriate temperatures when I cross the threshold of the door!
We want to get straight to the point as quickly as possible. This is why Twitter is so popular; Twitter forces you to construct your thoughts in 140 characters or less. Tell me what you want and move on.
We are a society on the move and for many of us we are practically sprinting. We cannot stop, we cannot slow down and we need to get more done today so we can repeat the dizzying process tomorrow.
Sure we take time to slow down but usually its because our bodies give out on us or we are “strongly encouraged” by our loved ones to relax and take some time for ourselves.
There is something freeing in slowing down. We are able to take in all that is around us and see how God is moving in our lives in ways that we would have looked right over had we not taken a moment to be reflective.
How are we using this time of Advent to prepare and to wait? Are we rushing for store to store buying mountains of gifts, trying to equate our love for someone by how big the price tag is?
How are we using this time of Advent to wait and to be reflective about what the coming of the Christ child means not only for the world or for the church but for us as followers of Christ? Don’t we want Christmas to be something more than pretty lights, too much food, elf on the shelf and Santa? Cant this time of Advent propel us into a deeper sense of the Divine around us and with us?
These are the thoughts that we take with us during this during to the manger… we aren’t there let but we know where we are going.
Below is a video that will explain Advent in about 2 minutes. I hope and pray that this Advent is not filled with stress but with hope and expectation of God coming to Earth as a baby.
There are several devotional books available online to further your Advent experience.
- Society of St. Andrew
- Partners In Prayer (Chalice Press)
- “From Her Voice” from Fig Tree Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
May you encounter Christ’s hope, peace, love and joy this Advent season.
Photo Credit: “Advent candles” by Markus Grossalber via Flickr. Used under the Creative Commons License 2.0.EDIT: 12/3/14– grammar and additions