Advent. A season that comes this time every year between our Thanksgiving holiday and the celebration of Christmas. However, it is a season that gets passed over by our culture today. All of the focus on gifts, shopping, Christmas music, and decorating assists in pushing right to Christmas (and hear me say that none of these things in and of themselves are bad). For Christians, however, there is more to this season. Advent is a season of anticipation and expectation for not only the celebration of Christ’s coming as a babe in a manger, but also looking forward to Christ’s second coming. It’s a season that can be a bit awkward and have a bit of tension for believers and I think that is healthy as it helps us to slow down and not get so caught up in the festivities and busyness that is all over this time of year.
Advent is a season where we lean into four main themes. Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love. Four themes that show us and help us to know what it looks like to live as a peculiar people who are focused on and citizens of God’s Kingdom – not only to come, but also in the here and now. The following from Christanity.com has helped me to think about Advent differently in recent days:
“Advent symbolizes the present situation of the church in these “last days” (Acts 2:17, Hebrews 1:2) as God’s people wait for the return of Christ in glory to consummate his eternal kingdom. The church is in a similar situation to Israel at the end of the Old Testament: in exile, waiting and hoping in prayerful expectation for the coming of the Messiah. Israel looked back to God’s past gracious actions on their behalf in leading them out of Egypt in the Exodus, and on this basis, they called for God once again to act for them. In the same way, the church, during Advent, looks back upon Christ’s coming in celebration while at the same time looking forward in eager anticipation to the coming of Christ’s kingdom when he returns for his people.”
Together, let’s lean into the Advent season this year and see what God has for us and what he might do in our anticipation and expectation. There’s plenty of time to celebrate Christmas, let’s not lose sight of Advent this year.
~ Pastor Todd