Advent – a season of expectation
Who sets aside time for waiting?
Seems strange, doesn’t it, to have a season for anticipation?
But that’s what Advent is.
Advent is counter-cultural. That’s partly what makes it so precious. It cuts across everything that the secular world has made Christmas to be. The world’s Christmas is fast-paced and loud and glamorous – Advent, in comparison, seems plain. It’s a time of stillness and surrender, of holy, hushed expectation.
It’s not normal, to celebrate the waiting. Living in the age of fast food and high-speed internet and overnight shipping, our generation is being taught that waiting is a curse. But God’s ways are different. He invites us to step away from the crush and clamor of the season and find time for seeking. For silence. Time for knees on the ground and head bowed before the mystery of the coming of God.
Prepare Him Room
Advent is all about making space. Space in our schedules – space in our hearts. What could be a better time to clear away the clutter of sins and distractions and ask Christ to fill us full? We see the wonder of the incarnation, and we’re compelled by this love. Compelled to turn away from lesser things and respond in repentance. This time of year, we sing the familiar words that Jesus Christ was “in all our trials born to be our friend.” But it goes beyond that. Christ was born to save us, to change us, and to sit King in our hearts. Part of celebrating His incarnation is cutting down the idols that rival Him and making room for Him alone.
Comfort and Joy
Amid the solemnity of repentance and humbling, we must not forget to rejoice. The birth of Jesus Christ is a beautiful miracle – a miracle that, two thousand years later, still touches us closely and personally. The knowledge that God has come close to us – that brings lasting joy. Open up your heart to the joy this season, the joy that Immanuel brings.
While Christmas is an opportunity to look back with thanksgiving at the incarnation, it is also a time to look forward to Christ’s return. He came the first time as a baby – the God of all in a tiny, helpless body, cradled by a virgin girl. He came to be rejected and suffer and die. But we know that isn’t the end of the story. When he comes again, it will be with power and dazzling glory, and the whole world will worship Him then. He will bring release and restoration and everlasting peace. In our storm-tossed world, that is certainly something to look forward to. Advent is a season to bring back our focus to what truly matters. Remember, we are a bride, looking forward to a not-so-distant wedding day. Our Divine Husband is coming to “make His blessings flow, far as as the curse is found.” That is where our hope truly lies – not in finances or family or reputation. And that is where the eyes of our hearts should be turned this Advent.
Do you celebrate Advent? What traditions do you use to turn your heart to Christ during this season?