by Alex Hardt, Associate Pastor to Youth and Young Adults
So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son. John 1:14
IT’S NOT CHRISTMAS YET!
I know some of you are really excited about the Christmas season, but did you know the Christmas season hasn’t actually begun yet? Wait. What?!? This can’t be true. Seriously, I’ve seen Christmas decorations, music, and cheesy Christmas movies on repeat since Halloween. The streets are lit up, the shopping stores have holiday specials, and I am already wearing my ugly Christmas sweater by the fire. It’s a bit confusing since everyone is already saying it’s Christmas when, in actuality, the Christmas season doesn’t actually start until December 25.
Years ago, in a galaxy far, far away (so excited for the new Star Wars movie) all the stuff we are doing now (ya know…all the shopping, presents, decorating trees, parties) didn’t even start until Christmas Eve! That sounds like the end to Black Friday as we know it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to crush your shopping or Christmas spirit, but I believe by rushing into the Christmas season, we’re actually missing out on something even more important. Something else has been put at the center of Christmas and it’s not Jesus. I’ll let you guess what it is!
TIS THE SEASON FOR ADVENT!
So if this season isn’t the Christmas season . . . what is it?
IT’S ADVENT! Think of how that might change some of your favorite Christmas tunes. “Oh Advent Tree! Oh Advent Tree! How lovely are thy branches?” or “We wish you a Merry Advent and a Happy New Year!” That might be going a little ludicrous considering Advent is the season leading up to Christmas day. So yes, that tree is still a Christmas Tree even though we are in a season of Advent. Advent is important and should have a significant role in how we approach Christmas.
The word “advent” means, “the arrival of someone notable”. It means someone important is on their way (spoiler alert: it’s Jesus). Advent is the season when we are reminded about Who not what is at the center of our lives and Christmas. It’s the preparation for the birth of a Savior who would sacrifice everything so that we might be reconciled to God.
This difference matters, because . . .
When you get ready to celebrate something, the preparation is usually all about you and what you can get from that experience. It’s about how I look, or what I can get, or who shows up. But when you get ready to celebrate someone, the preparation is about so much more than you. During the season of Advent, our excitement and anticipation isn’t about Santa, or family, or the presents. It’s about Jesus. Imagine for a minute, thousands of years ago, droves of people waiting with great anticipation for the coming of Jesus-literally. He hadn’t been born and yet people knew that someone was on the way. This was because God had promised it (take a look at the book of Isaiah) but they weren’t sure who they were waiting for. Advent is about preparing ourselves for the greatest gift we could ever receive, the gift of a Savior. You might be tempted to reject or ignore the gift of Jesus, but this Advent, I hope you’ll choose instead to get ready to receive God’s gift, because it is the best gift you could ever receive.
Practically Speaking | How might you prepare for the Savior?
- Dive deeper into His word and learn more about the Savior. Make Christ the center of your Christmas.
- Do one less thing… Maybe you can watch one less hour of television or take one thing off your Christmas list. Making sacrifices like these over specific periods of time is sometimes called fasting, which is something Jesus modeled and encouraged us to practice.
- Develop deeper relationships. Spend time connecting with someone who feels alone, broken or just needs encouragement. Invest in someone not something.
More ideas at these Blogs