advent candlesDec. 1, 2013

Matthew 1:21

The angel said, “She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

Today is the beginning of Advent. Advent is a time of waiting, of anticipation, expectation and preparing for the coming of the Christ Child on Christmas Eve.

The Advent Season crept up on me this year. Since I am not actively serving a church, l have not gone through the pre-Advent preparations. Normally by now, I would have written and distributed weekly Advent Wreath readings; completed a “Hanging of the Greens” worship service which reminds us of how Christmas decorations represent the life of Jesus; be in the final preparation stages for the “Live Nativity,” a re-enactment of the first Christmas; planned Advent and Christmas music for worship services. I love overseeing these Advent preparations.

This year, I am more sentimental. Eleven months ago my Dad passed away and two days ago we had the funeral service for Rick’s Mom. These events relate to the end of life moreso than a baby’s birth.

The Christian music group Go Fish has a song called “It’s About the Cross.” Some churches use this song at Easter. I include it during the Christmas season to connect Christmas Eve to the larger events of Jesus’ life. Read these lyrics:

It’s not just about the manger where the baby lay. It’s not all about the angels who sang for him that day. It’s not just about the shepherds or the bright and shining star. It’s not all about the wise men who travelled from afar. It’s about the cross. It’s about my sin. It’s about how Jesus came to be born once so that we could be born again. It’s about the stone that was rolled away so that you and I could have real life someday. It’s about the cross.

This is the story we are to anticipate, expect and plan to hear once again. When we prepare for Christmas, our most important preparations are not baking cookies or buying presents or decorating a tree. The most important preparation is anticipating the child whose single life changed the world.

For some, Christmas is not a joyous season. It’s a reminder of those who have passed on from this life. I pray as we prepare for Christmas this year, we will be reminded again that because of this child’s life we celebrate, those we miss have the opportunity to experience real life. Contemplating this real life is the most important of all our Advent and Christmas preparations. I pray we will embody this throughout Advent.

Lord God, remind us that it’s not just about the presents underneath the tree. It’s not all about the feeling that the season brings. It’s not just about coming home to be with those you love. It’s not all about the beauty in the snow I dream of. No, it’s about the cross. It’s about my sin. It’s about how Jesus came to be born once so that we could be born again. May this be the focus of my Advent preparation this December.   Amen.

Blessings –


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