Saturday, December 7, 2013

Doing Advent Right!

If Christ is the revelation of the whole meaning of humanity, if the meaning of human life is solely and entirely to be found in the fact that I am a child of God, then everything in my life becomes relevant or irrelevant in proportion as it tends to my growth as a member of Christ, as a child of God, and the extension of Christ in the world of humankind through his Church.[1]

Advent: A time spent in reflection and preparation for the coming of the Messiah. If the quote we began this short essay with is true, then we are doing advent very, VERY wrong.

Now, without getting all negative and ruining the Christmas spirit you are trying so hard to create at this time of year. If Lent, another season of preparation that most evangelical Christians would rather overlook, is about our life in reverse and thinking about our past sins and the lengths our Creator chose to take to assure our relationship with him, then Advent must be about looking to the future and how we should be living that we might glorify our Savior when he comes again. Think about it again. Lent is about our past and motivates us to glorify God in the season of Easter for he tremendous gift of our salvation. Advent is about the present and future, where we look at where we are ask, “How is my present life showing forth my citizenship as a child of the Kingdom of God?”

Few of us wish to put ourselves through such a period of examination. Most of us would rather sing another verse of Joy to the World and light another candle. But, Christianity is a faith that seeks to move us forward. Sometimes the best way to do that is to take a good look at the road traveled thus far, thanking God for his guidance grace and mercy for putting up with us. Other times, the best way to do that is to take stock of where we are and plan for the journey that is yet in front of us, making sure our road is straight and our pace is steady.

So, how do we approach this season we begin today? How do we keep it from being a mournful time? None of us, including myself want to, entirely, give up those rousing Christmas hymns that remind us of shepherds and angel songs and kings on long journeys to humble places? I think we do that by embracing the true meaning of this season. We look at where we are, we celebrate God’s continued faithfulness in the midst of our ever so glaring failings, we set our hearts on our destination, and we gird ourselves to complete the journey ahead. All of this we do with the firm reliance on God’s continued faithfulness, on the Spirit’s continued guidance, and the Son’s ever forgiving and restoring grace; the things of which those great Christmas hymns have always been made.

Let us light the Candle of Hope – again.

Pastor Craig

[1] Thomas Merton The Good News of the Nativity