Advent! Some Celebrate a Little Differently...
Advent season is upon us!
A time of anticipation, excitement, and expectations. A season to anticipate God's presence, to be excited over His coming, to expect His Spirit to enter our lives in a new ways.
Advent season traditionally marks the weeks before Christmas. Advent means "coming" or "arrival." We celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, His first Advent, and look forward to His Second Advent, His return to earth.
For most of us it is a busy season, both happy and difficult. Christmas stirs emotions and memories in people—I wish they were all good, but I know that for many their memories and their feelings are hard.
A missionary friend of mine celebrates advent in a different way than most of us. She was connected to an Anglican convent in England for a time, and writes that their advent season begins “in sharp contrast to the Christmas carols blaring in lavishly decorated malls and swarming shoppers who buzz about in an altered state. Advent began today with a deliberate slowing down and silence…Advent is about stripping down to the essentials in preparation for Christ's coming, taking away everything that distracts.”
The sisters’ decorations and celebrations don’t begin until Christmas Eve.
"Advent is a time for marveling at inner mysteries, a time for watching in awed silence, and a time for getting in touch with our deepest longings for the Lord. Silencing the externals and going deeper into the stillness allows you to taste the riches of the incarnation. And what appears to be deprivation creates an expectation and space in one's soul to contain more Christmas joy when the 24th of December arrives.”1
I like that. While we can’t all physically find a place to be apart from our busy lives, we can find time in our hearts and minds to anticipate with excitement and expectation what God will do in our lives in the next few weeks. And to strip down mentally to the essentials. To find comfort and peace in the knowledge that God loves us. If you are worried about not having enough money or time or energy to “do Christmas right,” then I pray you will realize that His riches are abundant in love, joy, and peace, and His grace is always sufficient. And His love, flowing out of you, will provide so many blessings to others, that no matter what your means, you will “do Christmas right.”
May your deepest longings for the Lord be met this advent season.
- Kathy Rogers, served as Maranatha missionary to England.