The Season of Advent is here again. It includes the four Sundays before Christmas and this year began on Sunday November 27th.
Advent means “coming” or “arrival”. Special hymns are sung and Bible verses read that prophesied Jesus’ coming; describe his birth; and speak of his return – the Second Coming.
For Christians, this is a time of expectancy and preparation. Yes, we celebrate Jesus’ birth at Christmas some two thousand years ago, born in a stable to his mother Mary and stepfather, Joseph. We also wait in anticipation for his second coming when all will be put right, and when God’s purpose and plan for all creation will be fulfilled.
Advent is therefore a time to focus on what really matters – reflecting in our hearts and minds what Jesus’ birth means to us as individuals and to humanity as a whole. The Gospel writer, John, reminds us that God loves us all so much that despite our sinfulness (our habits of selfishness, thoughtlessness, deceitfulness, revengefulness, cruelty, greed, etc.),
He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not die but have eternal life. God sent His Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him. (John 3:16-17)
God decided to send His Son, Jesus, to save us from ourselves and show us the way back to God and life with him as the centre of our lives.
Think on it: the three Kings gave Jesus gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. God has given us life. A pretty amazing first Christmas gift!
So, amidst the materialism and busyness of December, why not occasionally pause for a moment and reflect:
Light an Advent Candle each Sunday at home;
Make a crib or nativity scene and imagine yourself there;
Put together a Jesse Tree and reflect on God’s bigger picture for humanity;
Erect a Christmas display in a window to share the Christ message.
And come and join one of the village Lessons and Carols Services and/or have some fun attending one or all of the Christmas Children’s / Family Services – they are all different.
Most importantly: have a blesséd and joy-filled Christmas.
Rev Ann Bol
Shingay Group of Churches