These last two months I have felt like the comic above. By late-October, every store I went to already had their Christmas items on sale. By November, my work started to put up their Christmas decorations and my morning radio station started playing Christmas music.
As a society we rush into Christmas; I am not sure if it is because we are inpatient and demand it, or because retail companies want to start milking their giant Christmas money cow (according to the National Retail Federation (NRF) Americans are expected to spend $30 billion this holiday).
In the chaos, it is easy for christians to forget the “reason for the season” (sorry I couldn’t help myself). Many of us will rush, spend, wait impatiently for it come, and by December 26th , we are broke and exhausted—but next year we make it bigger and better. However, we forget that Christmas doesn’t start until December 25th (and ends on January 6th), and the four weeks before Christmas is the season of Advent.
Ironically enough, Advent is as season of waiting—the word “Advent” means coming or arrival. It is a season in which we should honor the centuries God’s people spend waiting for the promised Messiah. Since 1440 BC (around the time Moses was alive), Israel heard over 300 prophesies of their coming Savior. The Messiah that had been prophesied starting in Genesis 3:15, the Messiah prophesied to David (2 Samuel 7), the Messiah prophesied by Isaiah –I can’t stress this enough, they waited 1500 years!!
Luckily, we are on the other side of B.C, we know who the Messiah is, we know who the Savior is and so we honor his birth on December 25th.
I have a Liturgical planner that helps me keep track of the different Christian “seasons”. At the beginning of each season, the planner has a short devotional. I am sharing a portion of the Advent devotional that really spoke to me:
During this season, we assume a posture of waiting. We choose to enter the story as it happened for those who came before us: with anticipation, with groaning, with longing, with hope.
It is no new practice for us to wait in the dark. We, too, live in a world of shadows. We, too, trust in a future victorious day. We, too, cling with a stubborn hope to what God has promised: the return of our coming King. Advent is a time for us to practice the “already but not yet” kind of waiting. –Sacred Ordinary Days
In the season of Advent, we are not only honoring the waiting done by Israel, but we are also waiting for the promise that Jesus will return.
In my opinion, Advent is embodied by a prophesy by Isaiah:
The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.- Isaiah 9:2
So, let us slow down, let us wait and let us honor God. There are only two weeks left in Advent, during these two weeks I challenge you to:
- Pray in darkness with just a candle lighting the room.
- During your prayer just be quiet, don’t let your mind wonder, and wait for God to fill your thoughts.
- Read the following verses: https://www.biblestudytools.com/topical-verses/advent-bible-verses/
- If it is not too cold, take a walk before sunrise, while it is still dark.
- Be patient with one another, don’t get caught with the stress
- Slow down, don’t get caught with the rush.
Have a Calm, Hopeful and Merry Advent Season