Were you out in the malls catching the sales this weekend? I missed it. Have you already put up your tree? My pilgrims and pumpkins never even made it to my kitchen table this year. It was a different Thanksgiving, and I have a feeling it will be a very different Christmas season, but I don’t want to rush through this season or miss the meaning of Advent, no matter what my day holds.
It seems just yesterday that November began . . . weren’t we just talking about fall leaves and bonfires instead of Black Fridays and cyber Mondays? But it looks like it’s time to get out the Christmas decorations and start making lists (unless you’re one of those go-getters who’ve already finished shopping). Why does Christmas get here so much faster now that I’m all grown up?
When I was a little girl, it seemed like I had to wait forever for Christmas to get here.
Remember your childhood impatience when the year stretched long, but finally, after turning eleven colorful pictures on the wall calendar, you could see Christmas turn up on that last page? When I saw the day marked in bold letters, immediately, gifts wrapped in shiny foil, colorful lights, and familiar carols came to mind—I couldn’t contain myself, Christmas was all I could think about!
This year, let your childhood anticipation and excitement for Christmas be surpassed by another type of waiting; waiting for Jesus.
This month, as we enter the Christmas season, I want it to be about much more than lights and shopping. I want to experience Advent with you here on the blog. The Christmas season of Advent actually begins four Sundays before Christmas. But any date on the calendar is the right time to begin turning your heart and focus toward the One who brings us this special season.
Advent means “approach” or “coming.” Advent involves waiting, but joyful waiting. Celebrating Advent gives us the opportunity to thoughtfully reflect on the first coming of our Lord to the world as the infant King. The Advent season invites us to continually abide in Christ’s presence through the ministry of the Holy Spirit. And finally, Advent encourages us to anticipate Jesus’ final coming—the one we see in Revelation 19.
Advent is a season of joy-filled, confident, expectancy.
The Old Testaments saints waited.
The prophets waited.
Anna waited for her Redeemer to appear, and on a day which began much like all the days she’d experienced before, she came face to face with Him, as she was faithfully carrying out her normal duties. God in infant flesh:
[box]And when the days for their purification according to the law of Moses were completed, they brought Him up to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “EVERY firstborn MALE THAT OPENS THE WOMB SHALL BE CALLED HOLY TO THE LORD”), and to offer a sacrifice according to what was said in the Law of the Lord . . .
And there was a prophetess, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years and had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, and then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple, serving night and day with fastings and prayers. At that very moment she came up and began giving thanks to God, and continued to speak of Him to all those who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem. (Luke 2)[/box]
Let’s follow Anna’s example. Will you pause a moment today? Turn your inward gaze toward the Infant King who no longer lies in a humble stable, but stands at the right hand of the Father and ever lives to make intercession for you. Voice your thanks to Him.
Let your heart revel in the works He’s performed, in the power of the gospel, and in His lovingkindness toward you.
In this season of hurried activity, bustle and noise, you will have many opportunities to wait. Long lines at the grocery, long lines on the busy streets, long waits on phone lines with computerized voices asking us to please “hold.” Each time you’re asked to wait this season, use that as an Advent moment, a moment to turn your heart toward Him in anticipation of His return and in memory of His first coming.
Let’s worship Him as we wait.