O come, O come, Emmanuel,
and ransom captive Israel,
that mourns in lonely exile here,
until the Son of God appear.
This time of year is so festive. I enjoy the decorations and gift buying/making. I love the baking even though I don't do much of it anymore. This morning, outside, the ground is white with frost so I know that it is cold out. The Christmas lights on the houses are coming out and they were even before Thanksgiving. All the shops are decorated and massive amount of people are there looking for the perfect gift. My house is turned upside down. Not only is the transition from Thanksgiving decorations to Christmas in swing but I have four to five projects that I'm working on scattered about. The wrapping of gifts is done in our bedroom and there is no fixing the mess until after the wrapping is done (usually on Christmas Eve or later).
But, today is the first day of Advent. This probably doesn't mean much to most people but to the believer in Jesus it is the start of remembering why we celebrate Christmas in the first place. When I remember Advent all of the fun of Christmas becomes more crisp and brighter. Because of Advent I can shop looking for that gift for that loved one with joy. Remembering Advent even helps me navigate the crowds and keep the frustration to a minimum. The sparkle of the lights on the tree remind me of the star in Bethlehem so long ago that brought me the ultimate Gift. The moments of wrapping all the presents can be over whelming but when I remember Advent, even though I can't replicate the gift of Jesus, I can decorate the present with extra ribbon and make the gift look pretty.
Putting Advent in front of all I do for this season gives it meaning far above just what is fun and enjoyable. It magnifies all of the moments of Christmas so that each memory is imbedded in my heart and continues on long after the season is gone. I guess I also need to remember Advent when it is time to clean it all up too.
Often, we go way overboard at Christmas. The whole family is guilty of this. We have all tried to scale down or, at least, that is what we tell ourselves. But it never comes to anything. It is so enjoyable to give a present. I'd like to think that in the giving we are reminded that we can never out give that ultimate Gift of the Saving One. This is a noble thought and I'm not that fooled by my own motives. God, help me to remember Advent!
So, here it is in a nutshell: The reason that Advent is so precious is because I am a sinner in need of a Savior to be close to God. I couldn't do it on my own. Didn't even know that I needed to. But Jesus, in His extraordinary love for His people, came to us (imagine Deity confining Himself to a womb) and took our place of judgment.
O come, thou Rod of Jesse, free
thine own from Satan's tyranny;
from depths of hell thy people save,
and give them vict'ry o'er the grave.
It is a wonderful time of year. Today Dan and I went and cut down a tree (well, I watched as Dan cut down a tree). It is now in the corner where our Christmas tree is every year. Dan has put on the Christmas music and I write this with a bit of nostalgia. So many Christmases have come and gone since the first one. Yet, every Christmas is dependent on that very first Advent. There is such a sense of gratitude and over whelming wonder in pondering the coming of Jesus. It really does help put all things Christmas in perspective.
shall come to thee, O Israel.
May you enjoy this wonderful season as you remember His advent and coming.