Taking Advent Seriously
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 waiting 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 assuring us that the best is yet to come. Advent looks back to what 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.
Taking those two quotes we see that Christmas is not only about what happens on December 25th and is not about getting things. Christmas is about giving and the best things given don’t always come in sparkling paper and a shiny bow. Christmas is about loving others, serving the least, seeing God in others, and being Jesus to the world. We don’t need things, we need to be present to our life and those we come into contact with. Advent is about remembering the coming of Jesus and looking forward to his return. Advent is about embracing the coming of Jesus to our lives and extending the same things Jesus did and does–love, healing, forgiveness.
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 with 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 the 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?
We should live in faith and grace with the sure knowledge trusting in the 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 , and gives to the least of these. The music of the season is joy, hope, and love. Light shines, kindness is the rule of the day, and goodness is on display. 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.
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 with hope and expectation, we will better understand what it means to our life that God humbled himself by taking on human form. As C.S. Lewis said, “The Son of God became a man to enable men to become the sons 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 want to be better, to be more than I ever thought I could be and this is not of me but of Christ. Since is not from myself but of God I cannot boast for the good I do. Reflecting on how our response to Jesus has affected our life 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 so 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. Making this life, the on we are living now as it is 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 into the coming New Year. 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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