“When Elizabeth was six months pregnant, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a city in Galilee, to a virgin who was engaged to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David’s house. The virgin’s name was Mary.” Luke 1:26 – 27
We are fast approaching the season of Advent which will begin on Sunday, November 29th and will end on Christmas Eve. It is a season of preparation and a season of waiting. It is a season that we typically rush through to get to Christmas. And in this year of Covid-19 we seem to be rushing faster than usual to put up our Christmas decorations and begin the celebrations even before we have celebrated Thanksgiving. We are in a hurry to see all the twinkling lights and listen to uplifting Christmas music. I don’t blame anyone. I have considered it myself. We are weary. We are scared as we see the current Covid-19 numbers climb higher and higher. And we could all use a little hope right now. And since Christmas is a season of hope we are turning to the magic we think Christmas can bring into our lives, if only for a little while.
Unfortunately the lights, decorations, music and all other things Christmas that we surround ourselves with during this season do not give us hope. Well…all except the most important part of Christmas and the reason we celebrate the season to begin with: Jesus. We don’t need all the trappings of Christmas to have hope when we have a relationship with Jesus. Please know, I am not against all the trappings of Christmas and if you were to see my house during the season, you would realize how true that is. To be perfectly clear, what I am saying is that we need to turn to a who and not a what.
As we draw near to Advent, don’t be in such a hurry to get to Christmas. Pause and reflect on what each week in Advent represents. For those who are not part of a liturgical church the weeks work through the themes of Hope, Peace, Joy, Love and typically follow the lectionary readings for those weeks. If you are interested in seeing what those readings are you can find them here:
If you have followed the above link you will find that the lectionary readings have an Old Testament, Gospel, Epistle, and Psalm reading for each week. Through them we get a bigger picture of who Jesus is for each one of us. Advent calls us to slow down and reflect on what Jesus has done in your life, what Jesus has done for the world, and where we can work on Jesus’ behalf into our own communities. Slowing down means we get to read and hear about the deep and abiding hope Jesus brought to all the people of the world. We don’t see this if we are rushing through to Christmas.
So, If you are ready to put up your decorations and listen to Christmas music, I fully understand. I may even join you. But…don’t forget that the season of Advent comes first and it is there for a very good and much needed purpose. Through Advent we are prepared for Christmas when we “meet” the infant Jesus and welcome Jesus into our world, into our homes, and into our lives.
May you find the space this year to slow down and enjoy the season of Advent, the season that leads us to Christmas Day and the wonderful gift of Jesus.