Thursday, December 20, 2012

Why Advent?

Walking into church one early December weekend, I saw the familiar Advent candles set up on the stage. It was the first weekend of Advent.

Would it be a bad thing to say I kind of dreaded the next four weeks?

The truth was, I'd lost sight of why we lit the same four candles during Advent year after year after year. It had become nothing other than something we had to do. I'd lost sight of what it was all about.

The expectation of the coming Messiah.

The waiting for Jesus' birth as prophesied long ago.

I'd heard it all before. I could recite it for you.

Four candles. Hope. Love. Joy. Peace.

We light a new one each week.

Then on Christmas Eve, you light the fifth candle - the one that represents Christ come as the Light of the World.

But that Advent, God decided to remind me of why we take that time each year. I was being reminded of the purpose of Advent - at least, the purpose God had for it in my life.

Those four short weeks represent a very small season of waiting. The Israelites had waited hundreds of years for Jesus to come to earth. And then when He did come, most of the missed it because it wasn't what they expected.

Taking four weeks to focus on waiting for Christ to come is s good practice in our lives. It makes us focus on Who Christ really is and why it's important to celebrate that He came.

Hope . . .

Who couldn't use some hope in their lives? Jesus came to bring hope.

Love . . .

Who couldn't use more love in their lives? Jesus came because of His great love for us.

Joy . . .

Who couldn't use more joy in their lives? Jesus came to bring us joy that isn't dependent on our circumstances.

Peace . . .

Who couldn't use more peace in their lives? Jesus came to bring us peace in the midst of our worries and the hard things in life.

And taking the time to focus on this makes the celebration of Jesus' birth that much more important. It reminds us why He came.

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