“Are we there yet?!”
“When are we going to get there?”
Maybe those familiar words have rung in your ears on (many) a car trip. Perhaps you spoke them 😉
Sometimes it seems like we are NEVER going to get there… never going to make it to a destination… never going to accomplish a to-do list… never going to achieve our dreams… the list goes on.
There are important places to be, yet sometimes, we lose the beauty of the journey when we focus on the destination alone.
And so it can be with Christmas.
Having spent many of my growing up and now adult years in the church, I had heard the term “Advent” often. The sobering reality is (I don’t know why I allowed this to be true… but it is): Until a few years ago I honestly didn’t have any idea what “Advent” meant.
Oh, I’m certain pastors spoke of it. But I never let it sink in. I knew it was a time at church when different color banners and decorations were hung. Then there was that whole “Advent Wreath” and candle thing they did at church. But unfortunately, it was more of a nuisance to me. Because I didn’t understand it. I didn’t see the need for it. I didn’t want to wait in the season… I just wanted to arrive at Christmas.
Advent, a term I have now learned, comes from the Latin word adventus, which means “coming.” It is a time when we personally and as the church prepare for Christ’s birth, of his “coming” into the world. Through the reflection on the themes of the candles of the advent wreath, or daily scripture readings of an Advent devotional/calendar, or learning from the scriptures of the Jesse Tree… we journey… journey towards the “coming” of Christ.
And it’s that journey that prepares us for the truth, the beauty, the power of that glorious reality of the birth of Christ.
And, while I once wished that we could just be done with the whole “advent thing” and skip to the destination of celebration of Christ through Christmas, I now see the value in taking the time to reflect and prepare for His coming.
This year I have been struck by the “themes” of the candles as they have been lit to begin the first two weeks of Advent:
Oh, hope… I “hope” in and for so many things. But the hope, the true hope of the promised savior. Promised way back to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. A promise fulfilled with the birth of Christ. A promise, which God in an amazing mystery, extends to all people… to us. To reflect on all that THIS hope truly means. The realities that God addressed of our sinfulness and need of a savior and of God’s great love and faithfulness brought to us through Christ, God with us, born as a baby to Mary on earth…
Well, let me share what Ann Voskamp says, “Whenever the PACE makes us crazy, we make SPACE for Christ and find PEACE.”
And isn’t that what Advent can do for us? To make space in the pace of life, to allow for the PEACE of Christ? Peace, not of circumstance or disposition. But PEACE of the PERSON of Christ.
So much to reflect upon (too much to just jump to the destination of Christmas), enough to enjoy the beauty of the journey…
This Advent Season, I am praying that WE do choose to make the space in the pace…
What traditions do you have surrounding the Advent, “Coming” Season? I’m so interested to hear, so please share 🙂 Also, I’d be blessed to hear how God is at work, speaking to you as you prepare for His “Coming”. Comment below or send me an email!