Good day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well!
This coming Sunday starts the beginning of Advent. Advent is the season in the church year leading up to Christmas, which includes the four Sundays prior to Christmas. Like Lent is a time of reflection before the death and resurrection of Jesus, Advent is a time to focus and reflect on the birth of Jesus.
Over the next four weeks we will focus on preparing ourselves for Christ’s coming, for Christmas… and that doesn’t mean organizing our Christmas lists. …lol
Let’s top up our coffees and begin preparing for the real reason for the season…
Readings for Dec 1: First Sunday in Advent
Isaiah 2:1-5; Psalm 122; Romans 13:8-14; Matthew 21:1-11 or 24:36-44
…Clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ,
and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.
Have you begun planning your Christmas lists, or started purchasing or making any gifts yet? Does the thought of those tasks give you high blood pressure and anxiety? I have known some people to come to literally hate Christmas because of the expectation, stress and expense that surrounds the gift giving portion of our society’s ‘Christmas’.
Although the meaning behind gift giving at Christmas is wonderful since the human race was given the best gift ever in Christ Jesus, and the story of Saint Nicholas and his Christmas stockings is reflective of how we as Christians should live, getting gifts for others and desiring gifts for ourselves should not be the focus of our time and attention. As Christians, we should not be celebrating this festival like those who do not know the Lord; like those who do not know the hope and salvation we have in that little baby that is being born in a few short weeks. Even more importantly, our habits and lives should reflect and lead people to the joyous and peaceful anticipation and hope of Christmas morning. However, our habits, words, and actions are only outward reactions of where our hearts are at. Therefore, may we focus our hearts on Christ and let Christmas and all its wonderful activities, festivities and gift giving fall into their proper place.
As you begin this Advent Season, may I challenge you to spend just as much time, or more, thinking about how Christ came to earth in order to clothe you in his righteousness as you do thinking about how to gratify the desires of your family, friends and self through the physical preparation of Christmas lists and activities. Every time you begin thinking about your Christmas ‘to-do list’, take time to pray, giving thanks for Christ’s coming as a baby, and ask God to guide you in your preparations so that you can make him a priority and be a light of his love to all whom you encounter.
Prayer: Dear Jesus, as we approach this Advent Season and prepare for the coming of the Saviour of the World, help me to not get so caught up in the chaos that our society has turned Christmas into. Help me to be your light of HOPE, PEACE, JOY, and LOVE to all I meet and especially to my family and friends. In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN!