Thursday, December 3, 2009

Advent reflections

I love Advent.

The anticipation, the excitement, the longing.

What must it have been like to wait and hope for the Messiah? To cling to a promise given centuries before that someday he would come?

How amazing it is to have an AD vantage point, knowing that the Great Rescuer would be God himself. I'm sure the Israelites never saw that one coming. They watched and waited and prayed for a Messiah to appear, but how many thought God himself would come?

How many recognized when He did?

Simeon is one of my favorite people in the Bible, because he felt what we feel.


I know most people in non-liturgical churches don't participate in Advent, but I challenge you to consider it. Consider how it encourages a reflection of our hearts as we wait for our Savior. How it creates a sense of wonder and expectancy. How much more meaningful Christmas morning is when we have been "counting down" in a spiritual sense and not just a secular one.

Though we do the "secular" as well, but with a twist.

One of my favorite Christmas traditions with my kids is the construction paper countdown chain. Super-spiritual, right? Well, yes. It can be. We sit down together, and the kids think of people and things they want to pray for, and we write one on each link. Then each night as we cut off a link at bedtime, we pray for the person or thing that was on that link.

It's not a traditional advent ritual, but it helps in taking their focus off of me, myself, and I, and turns their hearts toward others.

During the time between now and Christmas, I will be sharing thoughts to reflect on most days. Some will be scriptures, some prayers, some Advent readings, and others lyrics from hymns.

I'll start today with some words from one of my favorite hymns: Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus.

Come, thou long-expected Jesus, born to set thy people free.
From our fears and sins release us; let us find our rest in thee.
Israel's strength and consolation, hope of all the earth Thou art.
Dear Desire of every Nation, joy of every longing heart.

Joy to those who long to see Thee, Dayspring from on high appear.
Come, thou promised rod of Jesse; of Thy birth we long to hear.
O'er the hills the angels singing, news glad tidings of a birth:
"Go to Him, your praises bringing; Christ the Lord has come to earth!"


Bill said...

Thank you.
A great start for Advent.
Exceptionally well said.

Lenae said...

You know, I've been a Christian for 9 years now and have never heard Advent discussed in depth. I enjoyed this post a lot and especially like the Advent prayer chain idea; It's definitely something I'd like to do with my kids. I'm looking forward to your posts as we count down to Christmas!