Advent means “coming”. We celebrate the coming of Christ, as Messiah, a helpless baby born of a virgin mother. God in arms. Miracle and mystery. Advent also commemorates the coming again of Christ in the last days. We look with hope to the day He will come again for His people, as Redeemer King.
Advent is a time of preparing our hearts for His coming – we light candles to remind us how Jesus’ birth brought light into a dark world. Celebrating Advent happens over the four Sundays before Christmas. The candles we light represent Christ’s gifts to us: Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love. A fifth candle is lit on Christmas Eve celebrating Jesus, the One who came for us.
What the practice of Advent does is to keep Christ central in all the busyness of Christmas.
Those Sunday advent worship gatherings lead us then to continue in the Word through each week, focused, in particular, on the wonder of God coming so near to us…humbling Himself to enter this human space as an infant…to awaken us to who He was and is and grasp what only He could fully bring to us.
In celebrating the joy and peace we have in Advent, anticipating Christ’s coming, we look to the blessing Paul wrote to the Roman church which, at the time, was enduring terrible suffering.
May the God of HOPE fill you with all joy and peace, in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in HOPE. – Romans 15:13
Let’s rest in Christ’s beautiful word to us. Focusing on all the other stuff of Christmas can be exhausting…and sometimes unsatisfying. Keeping Christ as center is where we experience his hope, peace, joy and love.
This Christ who drew near to us in a humble creche and held nothing back from us, even in His death on a cross. Oh the love, the joy, the hope and peace, we have in Him. Hallelujah!
[Below are images of the Women’s Christmas Event, celebrating Advent, at Mt. Vernon Baptist Church, Richmond, Virginia. We were surrounded by beauty and loving hospitality in this experience.]
Lord Jesus, Master of both the light and the darkness, send Your Holy Spirit upon our preparations for Christmas. We who have so much to do seek quiet spaces to hear your voice each day. We who are anxious about many things look forward to Your coming among us. We who are blessed in so many ways long for the complete joy of Your kingdom. We whose hearts are heavy seek the joy of your presence. We are your people walking in darkness, yet seeking the light. To You we say, “Come, Lord Jesus!” Amen. – Henri J. M. Nouwen
Online Advent Readings/Studies
[What are some of your favorite Advent resources? Please post in Comments for all of us reading.]