Advent Reflections – Week One
Advent is the season of the church year four weeks before Christmas. This Advent season we encourage you to prepare for the celebration of Jesus’ birth with these daily reflections and/or in any other way that helps you to center on the true meaning of Christmas and the love of Jesus Christ.
Week One – Active Waiting
We are beginning the holy season of Advent. It is the first season of the church year. Its name is derived from the Latin word for “coming.” We are waiting for the coming celebration of our Lord’s birth on Christmas Day. We are also waiting for the final coming of Christ “in power and glory” on the last day. During this Advent season, the four weeks before Christmas, we wait with great expectation.
- What expectations do you have for the coming season of Christmas?
- How do you anticipate Jesus coming into your life in powerful and glorious ways?
During Advent, we prepare ourselves to receive Christ in our hearts. Just like all relationships, our relationship with Jesus Christ takes effort. Often there are things in our lives that are hindering our relationship with Jesus. We put other things and people ahead of Jesus. We are distracted by the cares and concerns of the world. We seek things that are contrary to God’s desire for us. In Advent, we have an intentional season in which we can pause, refocus on our relationship with Jesus, prepare to receive Jesus in our hearts anew.
- What or who are you putting ahead of your relationship with Jesus?
- What obstacles or temptations do you need to overcome?
Over the past several years, Advent calendars are once again appearing in stores. They have themes that attract kids and families such as the Lego Advent calendar in which each day promises a new lego figure to add to the winter scene. Most Advent calendars are actually December calendars that count down from December 1 to December 25. As exciting as it is to find out which piece of chocolate or Lego action figure is behind December 9, this checking off the calendar days is not active waiting. During Advent, we actively wait for the nativity, the birth of the baby Jesus. We do things to recenter our lives on God and prepare to receive Jesus into our hearts.
- Have you ever actively waited for something in which you had to prepare?
- How did the preparation enhance your anticipation and expectations?
In waiting for the celebration of Jesus’ birth, we need to be alert and awake. If we passively mark off the days, we are sure to miss how Jesus is active in our lives today. Our awareness needs to shift from the Black Friday sales and the elf on the shelf to seeing Jesus in our daily routines and rhythms of life. Keeping alert and awake means experiencing Jesus in the world around us – hearing the bells ringing encouraging us to give to others less fortunate, sharing a meal with family and friends as we strengthen those bonds of love, and strolling outside to see the beauty of God’s creation. Advent reminds us to watch how Jesus is present here and now.
- During this time of year, what gets most of your time and attention?
- Where have you experienced Jesus this week? Who have you seen the light of Jesus shine through this week?
This Advent season the choice is simple – we can choose to wait for Christmas or we can choose to wait for Christ. We can prepare for a holiday or we can prepare to grow closer to Christ and through our example bring others to know the love of Christ. Advent is a time of personal preparation for Christmas. And we have to be prepared if we want to see God’s work. We have to stay awake and be alert so that Christmas can be meaningful. Stay alert – keep awake – This Advent, actively seek Christ.
- Which Christmas preparation do you dread the most? Which Christmas tradition do you look forward to the most?
- This Advent, how can you actively wait for Christ?