The Gift of Advent

This is perhaps the understatement of the year: December is a busy month. Our days and nights are filled with decorating and shopping, church activities and family gatherings. It’s exhilarating, and it’s exhausting.

Thankfully, we have Advent.

The first Sunday in Advent is November 28. Advent is the time in the year when we prepare for the coming of the Lord Jesus. We pray. We sing, O Come, O Come Emmanuel. We read Bible stories that point to his arrival in the world. Advent is a time of joyful anticipation. The savior of the world is coming! And so we get ready. And we look within ourselves to see how we might need to change to receive him into our lives. We ask God to open our eyes to discern his ever surprising presence.

Sadly, but not surprisingly, the world doesn’t get Advent. It makes no sense to them. It wants to jump right to Christmas morning. It wants to deny the reality of pain in the world, and it seduces into denying our role in it. The world just wants to feel good. The world wants to dive into the packages under the tree. It wants to devour the turkey and dressing and pumpkin pies RIGHT NOW!

But Advent slows us down. Advent invites us to reflect on our relationship with God and neighbor. Advent offers hope, a difficult hope to be sure, but the sure hope that we might know the healing touch of our God.

Do you know what Advent is? It is a gift. A gift from God to us.

Go ahead. Take it into your arms. Receive it into your heart. Make it a part of your lives, and you too might just find yourselves ready to rejoice at the manger.

Grace and peace,

Patrick

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