I’d like to say that I’ve always loved Advent, but the truth is that I didn’t grow up with Advent. The church I grew up in saw Advent as too “high church.” We celebrated Christmas and Palm Sunday and Easter (and maybe Maundy Thursday), but not Advent and not Lent.
So, like many others, I encountered the “season” of Advent as an adult. And, perhaps like you, I didn’t really get or appreciate this time of waiting and preparation for quite some time. After all there is enough preparing to do just to get ready for Christmas, who has time to engage in spiritual preparation for a season that is not even mentioned in scripture?
But as I’ve gotten used to Advent I have grown to love it. Yes, it is one more thing to do during a time when there is often too much to do. But even if we only pay attention to it on Sunday morning, if we just let that hour or so be a time when we let go of the hustle and bustle of Christmas, I think we will be rewarded with a spiritually richer Christmas and a far deeper appreciation of the coming of Emmanuel.
So come to worship each Sunday of Advent ready for the deep richness of this season of prepara-tion and waiting. Sing or listen to the somewhat unfamiliar songs of this season. Drink in the words of hope, peace, joy, and love that are found in the Advent scriptures. Watch and wait as we light candles and slowly and simply decorate our sanctuary with the traditional signs of Christ’s coming into our world.
And then, when Christmas Eve arrives, and we hear the familiar story and sing the familiar carols, we will be rewarded with the blessing of being fully ready to join with the shepherds and the angels and Christians everywhere in celebrating the birth of the baby of Bethlehem. Glory to God in the highest!