The Christmas season has begun. The leftovers from Thanksgiving are history and thoughts are turned toward Christmas. How do you and your family move into and through this wonderful season?
At our home, we love to once again transform our home with holiday lights, Christmas trees, Peggy’s collection of foot-tall nutcrackers, candles and Christmas music.
For some, Christmas is about shopping, stressing, gifts and parties. Many long for a much deeper and meaningful celebration. We declare Jesus is the “reason for the season,” but at times it’s hard to get focused.
Advent helps us get and stay focused in this wonderful season of expectation and anticipation. Advent, which begins four Sundays before Dec. 25, has been practiced by Christians for over 1,600 years.
Advent is a time for heart and life preparation, a time of nurturing a sense of awe and anticipation for God and his working in and through our lives. Times of prayer, reading of Scripture and quietness help calm our hearts fill them with his presence.
The purpose of Advent is to celebrate and anticipate the coming of Jesus Christ, to celebrate and remember his first coming some 2,000 years ago, and welcome his coming into every area of our lives, as well as anticipating his second coming, which could be at any moment.
Oh how wonderful are the lights, the music and gifts of this season!
The lights of Christmas remind us of the star of Bethlehem.
The lights of Christmas remind us that Jesus is the light of the world.
The lights remind us that we who believe and follow him are to be “lights in the world.”
The music of Christmas reminds us of the angelic choirs who sang at the birth of Christ.
The music of Christmas can be a pathway into worship of the Lord.
The giving at Christmas is patterned after the wonderful gift to mankind by father God – his Son.
One tradition for Peggy and I for many years has been attending the Nutcracker Ballet at the Community Center. It’s exciting as people arrive, find their seats and get ready for the performance. There is a time when the lights go dim, silence grips the auditorium, and the show is about to begin. Anticipation. The music is ready. The lights are ready. The cast is ready. All is ready.
The extraordinary thing that is about to happen is matched only by the extraordinary moment just before it happens. Advent is the name of that moment.
Pastor Louis J. Locke is founding pastor of Carson City Foursquare Church.