Rediscovering Advent Anew
The Advent season, an astonishing time of giving and gathering, is upon us once again. We celebrate the coming of Jesus in the nativity stories in Matthew and Luke and wait with breathless anticipation for the coming again of Jesus. Jesus comes to us in our personal lives as he once came to his first followers and offers us a taste of what is to come. Advent looks back to happened then, here now in our very lives, and to the future glory at once for the coming of the Kingdom of God among us.
Dale Evans: Christmas is love in action. Every time we love, every time we give, it’s Christmas.
Charles Schulz: Christmas is doing a little something extra for someone.
Advent, from the Latin adventus meaning “coming”, is a season observed in many Western Christian churches, a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas. It’s the beginning of the Western liturgical year and commences on Advent Sunday. The progression of the season may be marked with an Advent calendar, a practice introduced by German Lutherans. Latin adventus is the translation of the Greek word parousia, commonly used in reference to the Second Coming of Christ. For Christians, the season of Advent serves as a reminder both of the original waiting done by the Hebrews for the birth of their Messiah as well as the waiting of Christians for Christ’s return.
As we begin the Advent season, how are we to live in response to the Second Coming of Christ?
Should we live life as we always have?
Should we live life on our terms?
Or should we live by faith and grace with the sure knowledge and trust in the God who loves us so much to forsake heaven for earth and die naked and shivering on a cross in order to reconcile and draw all of creation to Him and his Kingdom. We Should Live in the faith and grace of a God loves us as we are, no matter how messy we are God loves us, but loves us way too much to leave us that way.
Christmas is a magical season where everyone says hi to each other, overlooks blunders, looks for the good, accentuates the positive over the negative, and gives to the least of these. If we were to live the other eleven months as we do this one than life, as we know it would end and we would enter a magical land like C.S. Lewis’ Narnia. C.S. Lewis said, “The Son of God became a man to enable men to become the sons of God.”
As we proceed through this advent season, three things we can do to deepen our expectation of the coming of Jesus.
1. Reflect on what it means for God to come to earth in human form as a baby
Reflecting on the in incarnation can help us live Advent as a continuous season of becoming, discovery, completion, and fulfillment. In living life to its fullest through hope, struggle, fear, and expectation, we will better understand what it means to our life that God humbled himself by taking on human form. As it has been said, God became human so that we may become children of God.
2. Consider how accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior changed your very existence
I know for myself that my life is different since becoming a Christian. I am not perfect or all good, but I want to be. I don’t give into my selfish inclinations, I still do some of the things that are not right or healthy, but I want to do better. I am better than I used to be, but that is not from my own doing, but from Jesus so that I cannot boast for the good I do. Reflecting on how our response to Jesus and has affected our life than we will have a deeper understanding of what it means to follow Jesus.
3. Know that Jesus is coming back
Jesus is coming back. Maybe not tonight or tomorrow, but soon and we should prepare for the final advent season. This knowledge should shape how we live our lives and how we respond to the people, and events of our lives. No more do we pretend we are in control and can do as we like, but we should seek to do the will of our father in heaven. As the Lord’s Prayer says, ‘Thy will be done on earth as in heaven.’
Here’s a question to ponder over this Advent Season, a question asked by salmon Rushdie, “What kind of Christmas present would Jesus ask Santa for?” If you find an answer to this question than ask for that, live that over the advent season and the coming New Year. So let us heed the advice of Charles Dickens. “I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.”
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