This Sunday is the first day of Advent, which is a Latin term for “the coming”. It is the season leading up to Christmas when Christians across the world prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. The refrain of Advent is, “Come, Lord Jesus, Come.”
Depending on your background, you may or may not have observed Advent before. I had never given it a thought until a few years ago. I entered into it experimentally … to see if it would really affect my mindset leading up to Christmas, or if it would just be a religious ritual. It could be either, I suppose, depending on how you approach it.
The challenge is familiarity. We know the Christmas story. The coming of Jesus is not a new doctrine for most of us. However, it’s possible to hold something as true and at the same time not experience it as meaningful. We know all kinds of things that do not provoke an emotive or active response.
So I want to say up front that our aim during Advent is not primarily to learn something new. That may happen, but it is secondary to the aim of allowing familiar truth to become personally meaningful.
To that end, we will be talking about the themes of Advent on Sundays during the call to worship. Additionally, there are a variety of resources that will help you observe Advent in a meaningful, worshipful way. Two such resources are this personal devotional and the “Jesse Tree” family devotional (content and ornaments)
Our intention is to slow down, to contemplate the kind of lives we are living, and the kind of people we are becoming. Our reflection centers on what God has promised and done, so that we might gain strength in hope. During a season which is typically marked by hurriedness and consumerism, let us enter Advent soberly, making preparation in our hearts, clearing the way in our lives for the refrain of Advent to become our sincere longing: “Come, Lord Jesus, Come.”