Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A More Meaningful Christmas: An Introduction to Advent

Christ came to this earth to bear our sins. He came as the ultimate sacrifice so that we could live fully free and loosed from sin and the bondage it bears.

As a believer, I have found the celebration of Christmas to be mentally conflicting. Perhaps this stems from my tendencies to be overly analytical, but I do fully believe that God wants this season when we celebrate His Son's birth, to be a time of intentional focus on His gift to us, His most precious gift of His Son.

This was a sacrificial gift. Could you imagine giving up your only son? Could you imagine sending him off into a warpath, knowing for certain that he would suffer severe torture and, ultimately, the most excruciating death possible? And yet that is what God did for you. And for me. And for every single living human being on this planet. His gift was the ultimate gift.

And so as you bustle about during the busyness of gift-buying, decorating, baking, and all the other fun activities that are so abundant during this season, I wonder if you'd like to join me in recognizing the coming of our Christ in the form of a babe?

I'm not asking you to give up all of the worldly customs of Christmas. I'm not asking you to refrain from decorating with snowmen and Santas. I'm not asking you to cut your gift-giving drastically back. But I am asking you to consider some practices that will bring you and your family into a clearer focus of why we celebrate Christmas.

Maybe I should first define the word advent. The word "advent" comes from the Latin word "adventus" which means "arrival." So, in essence, when the believer celebrates and practices Advent, he/she is celebrating the coming of Christ as a baby.

The Bible does not specifically mention Advent. The commemoration of Advent is not a Biblical command. Rather, it is a man-made attempt to bring the frail, distracted human frame into remembrance of the holiday. It is also marks the beginning of the the Christian year which is recognized in the more liturgical churches.

Having attended an evangelical church all of my life, I do not believe I ever heard the practice of Advent discussed in the church. The concept of Advent is, indeed, unknown and foreign to many Protestant and evangelical Christians. And it was not until several years ago that I even knew why some churches recognized Advent.

So, please know that our family does not practice Advent because we are Biblically commanded to do so. There are no laws in the Bible that specifically address Advent.

However, we have personally found that this time of intentional recognition and anticipation of the Savior's birth, draws us nearer to Him during this very distracting time of year.

Tomorrow, I will share our Advent practices with you. Specifically, we use our Jesse Tree ornaments and devotional. We also use an Advent wreath of sorts to count down the days until the Savior's birth.

In the meantime, I pray that you would have a most blessed day in the Lord!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I had never heard of Advent until about 5 years ago. Now we are more intentional about observing it. This year, we are not putting up a Christmas tree...jus the beginning of really coming to terms with what the day is REALLY about. Being aware of the pagen traditions that have crept into our Christian holiday... Thanks for sharing and looking forward to the Advent season with you!