This year my husband came on staff at a Methodist Church so for the very first time we are part of a congregation that celebrates the season of Advent. For many of you this may seem as no big deal, but for others you may find it just as new and intriguing as I do! If you are one who, like me, has been kept in the dark about Advent then let me explain. . .
Advent is a season of preparation. A time to prepare for the coming of a King. It reminds us of the first time earth prepared to “receive her King”, but it also speaks of a present day preparation for the return of our King. Advent typically involves a season of prayer, fasting and repentance, followed by anticipation, hope and joy. How many of us start the holiday season off with a time of prayer and fasting? Quite the opposite; most of us start a season of holiday binging just before Thanksgiving and don't let up until January 1st!
To be very honest with you I am not a fan of what Christmas has come to look like in the world. It seems very self-serving and commercial driven. In-fact, Americans spent $228.4 BILLION dollars on Christmas last year. As much as we don’t want to admit it, as believers we are just as guilty of giving into all of the bedlam. Think of how much time and money are spent on trees, gifts, food, parties, and other indulgences. If we are honest most of us would say that Christmas Day is spent in a frenzy of gifts, rich foods and football. What about that King we were preparing for? You know, the One who was born in an animal’s feeding trough. The One who is completely Divine yet laid down His crown to put on flesh and dwell among sinners. How much of our time and money is spent on Him in comparison?
So enter the Advent season. What if we spent our time and energy preparing ourselves for the coming of our King? What if we sent $228.4 BILLION dollars to third world countries to put a stop to world hunger? What if we got up each morning and asked the Lord what we could give HIM, how we could serve HIM. Think about this for me. If you knew that KING JESUS was going to show up IN THE FLESH again at the end of this month, how would you prepare for that? Would you rush to every office “elephant-gift” party you could cram in? Would you make sure your son had the newest Nintendo DS? Would you spend the entire day watching 24 hours of Ralphe and his red-rider bb gun? Or . . .would you take your children to volunteer in a soup kitchen? How about taking that DS money and giving it to “Operation Christmas Child”? Instead of 24 hours of Ralphe, how about a 24 hour prayer vigil?
As I am entering my very first Advent season I leave you with the same question that I am asking myself:
Is my life truly saying: “O’ Come, O’ Come Emmanuel”?