is the season of expectant preparation that involves the four Sundays before Christmas and Christmas Day itself. Advent literally means "coming". It involves reading scripture, prayer, and often the lighting of candles. This coming Sunday it will begin and we will be encouraging our congregation to begin a period of Bible reading and prayer in a way to mark Advent.
Why do this? In our church, for example, we don't observe any liturgy and, apart from Good Friday, Easter, Christmas Eve and Christmas, we don't observe anything to do with the Christian calendar or many of the traditions of the larger Church.
One reason is because we are a people who focus a great deal on God's promises and how God fulfills them. Much like the sun slowly rises on the face of the mountain above and brings such a beautiful moment of color and glory to the scene, we, as God's people, receive much from reflecting on how God has come through on what he has promised. Such spiritual nourishment comes from basking in the glory of it!
Listen to how Peter wrote about the significance of Christ fulfilling the old promises given by the prophets:
"Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look." (1 Peter 1:10-12)
For centuries and millennia, God's people had been waiting on God's fulfillment of his promises in Christ, wondering how he would do it! We live in the age of that revelation and fulfillment! Angels long to look into our place in God's plans!
We take four Sundays to anticipate and long for the coming of Christ in order to prepare our own hearts for the majestic coming of Messiah.
That glorious revelation of God in Christ deserves a careful pondering and asking God to make our hearts come alive to the matchless beauty that is fully ours in him at Christmas!
We're making resources available, and I encourage you to read the other postings on Advent on this blog!
If you'd like to read some more practical information and learn a bit more about HOW our family observes Advent, click here to read a post from my wife Tracy!
Labels: advent, Bible study, Christianity, Christmas, Church life, discipleship, discover, family, First Assembly Community Ministries, incarnation, Jesus Christ, prophecy, spirituality