Last Sunday I heard my pastor say that we should be waiting for the Christ Child especially these four Sundays in December. He called the first week anticipation, the second preparation, the third looking forward and the fourth longing. that is what Advent is all about.
It seems to me that the early Christian period of Advent has all but disappeared from our churches. It is celebrated in some of the mainline churches where they still have four candles on a wreath with the Christ’s candle in the center of the wreath, but you have to look long and hard to find this in our homes today. Even though the Advent period began almost as early as the Christian Church itself, I am old enough that I remember most homes had an Advent wreath on their tables for the first Sunday in December. I believe that it makes the Christmas season more wonderful and meaningful than without it. So, I have an Advent wreath on my dining room table with a devotional book nearby, and I use it too!
Why don’t you start this custom? Just buy an artificial wreath and four votive candles to put around it and a taller Christ’s candle in the middle. As far as your preparation is concerned, I am sure you have lots of lights to put up, your tree to decorate and lots of baking to do. However have you taken the time to read a little in the Bible or some devotional book. That is the part of preparation that makes the season, isn’t it?
If you have kids at your house you don’t even have to try the anticipation thing. They are already telling you what they want from Santa, but how about teaching them a little about anticipating the birth of Jesus who was born in a place where the animals slept? That will help keeping Christmas in their
hearts, wouldn’t it?
Looking forward is a little harder. It is easy to enjoy the baby born in an animal’s feeding trough, but harder to talk about his terrible death isn’t it? But that is the part that should be exciting to those of us who know that he took with him all our sins and that he has promised he will never forsake us. If you don’t really know this, why not do it now around your Advent wreath? Just ask him to forgive your sins and tell him you want him to be with you all your days.
The fourth candle, longing, tells us to think about past Christmases, those who aren’t with us anymore and the happy days we had at past Christmases. It also tells us that the baby Jesus grew up to die and take away our sins and how happy we are that we have taken Jesus with us throughout our lives.
It’s just a suggestion, but a good one. Maybe we together can bring the Advent season alive again, Huh?