There are certain signals we all recognize that warn us Christmas is on its way. The day after Thanksgiving, the busiest shopping day of the year, reminds us that Christmas is near. Holiday advertising is everywhere we look and in everything we hear. Christmas jingles won’t let us forget what’s just around the corner. We’re told of every financing plan imaginable to ensure that we can afford all the gifts we “need” to buy for all the people on our growing list. Websites assume their “Christmas look,” and retailers put on their most elaborate displays.
Advent is a Church season of four weeks including the four Sundays before Christmas Day. Advent derives from the Latin Adventus, which means “coming.” The season proclaims the comings of Christ – whose birth we prepare to celebrate once again, who comes continually in Word and Spirit, and whose return in final victory we anticipate. Each year Advent calls the community of faith to prepare for these comings; historically, the season was marked by fasts and preparation. Each Sunday of Advent has a distinctive theme: Christ’s coming in final victory (First Sunday), John the Baptizer (Second and Third Sundays), and the events immediately preceding the birth of Jesus, the Christ (Fourth Sunday).
It is this season of Advent, however, that is the Church’s signal for the coming of the Christ child. A special season is drawing near on our church calendar: the beginning of Advent. The season of Advent is the time we prepare, not for extra expenditures of cash, but to remember the Christ child who came to live among us! We attempt, once again, to consider that God actually assumed our humanity and was born and entered our world to secure our redemption.
As we get about the business of preparing in this wonderful season, maybe one of the best ways is by doing the work of repairing! Let us be intentional and active in this work through acts of mercy and justice. Let us repair relationships worn down by much too busy schedules and apathy. Let us repair ourselves through prayer, scripture reading, gathering as the church in worship, and laughter with others. Let us repair our community with service, making sure all are included, compassion, and forgiveness. And let us repair our world in sharing Christ with each and with all.
May you and all your loved ones be blessed and find joy in making ready for the coming of God’s Great Gift: The Child in the manger; and may you and each and all have a most blessed and merriest of Christmases!
Be God’s, (And Merry, Merry Christmas!) Pastor Jim