I’m not sure how the days have slipped away so; tomorrow is December 1st. It doesn’t seem possible that Advent has begun. In that I realized we should start our Jesse Tree tomorrow and I wasn’t sure where I’d stored it. My children are eager to put up the Christmas tree, but with a very mobile, adventurous 8 month old… well, I’m not ready for that just yet. The Advent Calendar, yes, that we can hang “safely” on the wall. So in search I go.
A box of handmade ornaments from the children over many years, a nativity wall hanging, Santa hats and reindeer antlers… Christmas decorations abound if only little hands weren’t so tempted I’d put more out now. On Sunday I decided to hang our precious handmade stockings.
But now it is Wednesday, tomorrow is December and I hadn’t yet found our Advent books and wall hanging. Digging through the closet I saw the familiar wrapping of packaging that holds our Advent calendar.
As soon as the children came off the afternoon bus from school they asked about the tree. They asked about buying gifts. They asked about Christmas cookies. They asked about the Christmas Eve service. There is so much to do in the Christmas season that it can be all too easy to forget Christmas itself. I’m thankful for Advent because it provides me the routines that help me remember. As I prepare my house, children and my heart through Advent (the waiting for the coming of Christ) the weight of the season hit.
Preparing for Christ to come.
In the coming He came to give.
Through the giving we can truly live.
The Messiah was born; God came to earth, our Immanuel, God with us. I’m overwhelmed with humility of the Christmas story, Jesus born to Mary and Joseph: young, no-name, no-status parents. Birthed in the stables, the babe laid in a manger…
and I stop… stop typing, stop thinking and pause with that, pause to let that sit in my heart. In some ways that is what advent beckons us… pause… let the beauty, weight, love of His presence meeting us here on earth sink deep.
Today I’ve been taking time to pause on each of these:
Advent brings us face to face with the longing for the coming of Christ, the anticipation of his presence, the waiting for the amazing gift of God come to earth as the infant Christ.
As you ponder the birth of our Savior to Mary and Joseph in the most humble of circumstances, what does that teach you of the heart of God? How does the good news of Christ’s birth bring joy to you today? As the angels did on the day of Jesus’ birth, how does Christmas offer you the chance to share the good news of God’s love?
To celebrate the gift of Christ during the Christmas season is to look to Easter. As Christ came to earth to give His life for our ransom. The hope of Christmas is found in the depths of darkness in Good Friday. In love Christ lay down his life for us, his friends.
Reflecting on the mercy found in the sacrificial gift of Christ, how does that deepen your understanding of God’s love for you? Jesus came not for us to serve him but so that he may serve in the greatest way. How does knowing the Messiah’s gift was to give his life for us impact your celebration of Christmas?
Jesus death wasn’t the end; he conquered death and rose again. In His resurrection we have new life. His gift opens the doors to communion with God; life abundant.
In a season filled with abundance: food, presents, parties, people… how can you take the opportunity this Advent season to reflect on Christ’s gift which gives us true abundance in relationship with God? In what ways do you need to center your understanding of true abundant life in the reality of the gift of grace of communion with God?
God- this Advent season as we prepare our homes with decorations and food to celebrate Christmas, work in us to prepare our hearts to celebrate as well. Let us hear you call us to pause in the busyness. Deepen our understanding of you, give us more knowledge of your heart for us and help us to live lives that reflect you. Amen.
What traditions do you have as you prepare for Christmas to pause and reflect on the coming of Christ? Share with me how God is at work in your life this Advent season as the Christmas holiday approaches.