In the flurry of Black Friday deals and Cyber Monday advertisements, the season of Advent has once again crept in. Like Christ's first coming, Advent doesn't force itself upon us. We can miss it if we're not attentive, and we'll miss out on the blessings this season offers if we're not intentional. So let's be sure and approach Advent the right way.
If you're unfamiliar with Advent, this is the season where Christians around the world set aside time to reflect on and celebrate Christ's coming to earth (Christ's first "coming" or "arrival" is what this season of Advent points to). But what does this reflection and celebration look like?
This reflection on Christ's coming includes reflection on the waiting and anticipation that preceded Christ's coming. For thousands of years God's people longed for a Messiah and placed their hopes in God's promises. Advent brings these biblical ideas of waiting, anticipation and trust into the present for us each year. Advent also includes reflecting on the need for Christ's coming - our sin and rebellion against our Creator. The truth that nothing other than the sending of God's Son would deal with THE problem of our sin reinforces God's love for us...and the seriousness of our sin.
The celebration comes when we appreciate everything Christ's incarnation means for us: God has now come in the form of a human to reconcile us to God, and to be a representative (standing on our behalf) and substitutionary (standing in our place) sacrifice. The name Christ is given in Matthew 1:23, Immanuel, says it all: In Christ, God is with us. God becomes man to be with us, so that through His death and resurrection we might be with God.
So this season, set aside time - individually and as a family - to reflect on Advent and all that it means (this post helped me do this in renewed ways recently). Take time to celebrate everything Advent offers and accomplishes.
Find practical ways to give your attention to Advent, knowing that if you're not intentional this season can creep by unnoticed and under-appreciated.
And finally? Respond in fresh faith (and the obedience the follows) to all that Advent intends, reconciling us to God so we might know Him personally and be restored to a right relationship with Him.
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Christian. Husband. Father. Pastor. Learner. Contributor. Reader.