Every year, as the calendar transitions from Thanksgiving to Christmas preparations, Christians are invited to enter the season of Advent. Advent is a time of preparation, a time of reflection, a time to be still and dwell on the coming of the Christ-child into the world anew. Advent provides opportunities to resist the materialistic mentality of the holiday season, and in so doing, Advent presents a counter-cultural way of living.
It’s not that Christmas activities are bad. On the contrary, they help liven up the month, bringing us countless ways to come together, to think of others and to enjoy festivities. And yet, in the busyness of it all, it can be easy to forget the spiritual importance of season. At Christmas we celebrate Emmanuel, God with us! And yet, so few were able to recognize the miracle of God’s presence that first Christmas. How often do we, even now, miss out on the miracles of God’s saving, healing, instructive presence in our midst?
Which brings us back to Advent – a four-week season of reflection, preparation and moments of stillness in which we can listen for God – a time to meditate prayerfully on the hope of God, the peace of Christ, the joy of fellowship and the love of community. If you have not yet had a chance, I encourage you to pick up an Advent devotional book (available in the Narthex) and spend a little time each day meditating on the meaning of Christmas – God come to earth – light shining in darkness – the Prince of Peace among us, inviting us to see the miracles of Christmas all around us. May all who have eyes to see, encounter God anew this Advent.