Step into Advent!
It is that time of year again. The evenings are getting shorter, the days are getting colder, and shops, TV, and radio are full of the Christmas spirit.
While it is great to celebrate and share the message of Christmas we are not actually there yet, there is another season! A sometimes forgotten season that we are currently in. The season of Advent.
The Christmas season for the church officially starts on Christmas eve and it runs up unto a celebration we call Candlemas in February. This being the day we remember and celebrate Jesus’ presentation in the temple when he was a baby.
So currently we are in the Advent season. Advent started on Advent Sunday on the 27th November and runs until Christmas eve.
Advent is a season of looking forward, it’s a season of waiting and anticipation. For Christians it is the anticipation towards the coming of God into the world in Jesus Christ.
The theme of anticipation can be seen in the hymns we sing in church at this time of year some of which I’m sure you are familiar with. Hymns such as such as o’ come, o’ come, Emmanuel or Lo, he comes with clouds descending. Those being two of the classics.
This sense of anticipation Christians have in Advent is similar to the anticipation we have in lent as we approach Easter. It’s anticipation of an imminent event. An event that will change the world, history, and the very nature of existence for ever.
The season of Advent is a time to pause. It’s a time before the celebrations of Christmas that brings us the opportunity to reflect on the journey of the past year. It is a chance to set goals for the coming year and to begin, with hope, the next chapter in our journey.
Advent can look like a bit of an anti-climax because just like Lent as it is a season that as soon as it starts we are counting down to get out of it! Advent calendars and Advent candles are a good example of this. But Advent is not just about counting down.
It is in Advent in early December that we start to decorate our houses in anticipation of Christmas day. We start to think about what presents to get each other and we buy them in this season (and if you are a bit late in getting your presents like I often am you leave it until the very end of this season!)
It is this season where we start preparing the feast that is Christmas dinner, sometimes weeks in advance. So, as well as a season of anticipation and looking forward it is a season of joy, of excitement, and preparation towards the celebration of Christmas.
So, Advent candles and calendars while they count down, they are not just doing so in eagerness to get out of this season. Quite the opposite.
Every single day we open a calendar door or light the Advent candle is a celebration in itself. Advent in something to be celebrated every single day, it is joyous and it is exciting.
So this year let us embrace Advent as much as we can and make the most of the opportunity it bring us.
Looking forward to the miracle of Christmas in God coming into the world in Jesus. Preparing for that celebration with those we love and we hold dear. Reflecting on the last year we have had and look forward to the next year however exciting or more daunting that may be.
And finally embracing that call from God to be still. To spend time in reflection with God before we come to celebrate the greatest miracle that ever happened.
So I hope you all have an enjoyable and moving Advent season, a very happy Christmas, and a joyous New Year! Rev Miles