Today in church, our student minister asked us to reflect on what we’re hoping for this Christmas. A certain present? Quality time with friends and family?
I have always loved counting down to Christmas Day on advent calendars. Last year I enjoyed having one of the cheap chocolate advent calendars from Aldi. Keeping a blog has been far healthier…except perhaps when it comes to sleep. I remember fondly some of the advent calendars we had when we were kids, and in particular, a felt one that I made myself. For each day there was a Christmas stocking with a unique decoration on it, and each one had a lolly inside and a little slip of paper with a Bible verse on it. I do remember wondering though why there were only 24 days on my calendar. Why wasn’t the most important day included? Perhaps because the wait is over come Christmas Day.
I learned today that the traditional season of advent doesn’t necessarily start on 1 December. It actually starts on the fourth Sunday before 25 December (anywhere between 27 Nov and 3 Dec).
Even if we have simplified the start-dates, there remains significant purpose in advent. According to trusty Wikipedia, for Christians:
The season offers the opportunity to share in the ancient longing for the coming of the Messiah, and to be alert for his Second Coming.
Advent is all about Jesus. It’s about sharing in and remembering his coming to earth as a man, the first Christmas – God with us, as well as looking forward with true hope, to his return.
I’ve enjoyed receiving the #25words thoughts and videos as part of remembering Advent this year. Today’s email said:
Christmas is one of the world’s great stories. But it’s only the beginning. There’s the life Jesus lived, the teaching he brought, and the benefits of his death and resurrection. Still, there’s better yet to come. Especially to those who are broken, who suffer, as you’ll see:
“He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
As we eat our final chocolate(s) or write our final Advent Blogs, we can remember that Christmas is worth hoping for, but the best is still to come. What are you hoping for this Christmas?