Advent is here! The beginning of the Christian calendar and the countdown to Christmas. Most prepare for Christmas by shopping, partying and stressing out. This kind of preparation leaves many longing for the end of the holiday season even before it really begins! The “most wonderful time of the year” tainted with stress, anxiety and depression! But it doesn’t have to be this way! You need not allow the season to overwhelm or become something it was never intended to be. You really CAN choose to celebrate a good advent!
Christmas is the celebration of the incarnation of Christ. “Incarnation” is a theological term which means, “God entering our world as a human being in the person of Jesus Christ.” We celebrate this most wonderful and momentous event each year on December 25th. Unfortunately, for many, Christmas is a one day celebration precipitated by weeks of hurried shopping, decorating, baking, etc. But, the church has long understood the celebration and importance of Christmas in a much different way. Traditionally the church has prepared for the celebration of the incarnation through four weeks of joyful anticipation called “Advent.”
So you and I have a choice to make; will the four weeks leading up to Christmas be about the stressful hustle and bustle of holiday preparation or will it be joy? It really is a choice! We really can choose to focus upon Christ and the real “reason for the season.” We can let go of the stress and realize the greatness of this holiday is not the perfection of party, gifts and decorations but rather the joy of the Christ child born in a manger. We can choose to rejoice with the angels and live “Joy to the World, the Lord is Come” or we can forfeit our joy for an infinitely lesser celebration defined by “busy-ness.” The choice is a matter of the heart. How will we direct our heart during the time leading up to Christmas Day?
Over the course of this week I am going to share some ways our family are choosing joy and the celebration of Advent over the stress, anxiety and endless activity of what most call “holiday preparations.” Of course this doesn’t mean we won’t share gifts or bake! BUT, we do these with a sense of joy!
Tomorrow…The Advent Calendar!