From the Interim Pastor | The Advent
The earliest date of Advent is impossible to determine. There’s evidence of Advent-like practices here-and-there by the 4th Century, and by the 5th and 6th Centuries, the Advent season had been established widely. From its earliest days, Advent was regarded as a season for prayer, confession, and reflection on the meaning of Christ’s coming into the world at Bethlehem and the promise of his coming again.
It’s often said that this original regard for the “true meaning” of Christmas is easily lost these days amid the much running around and feverish activity of the season. And that’s true, of course. In America, the “Christmas Season,” so-called, seems to begin earlier and earlier each year. And a typical December may leave us feeling more worn-down by its many demands and duties than renewed by Advent contemplation on the Incarnation. The popular slogan “Jesus is the Reason for the Season” suggests how easily the world can pull us away from Biblical focus. We are faithful and wise to engage more fully in the classic spiritual disciplines of Advent.
But there’s more. A key word for understanding the meaning of the Incarnation is “Immanuel.”
“The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God with us'”
Immanuel means that in Jesus Christ, God is with us all of the time, not only at times when we are doing something “religious”. Christ is with us in the kitchen, the office, the car, the restaurant, the theater, the potluck, the store, the party, wherever we are, and whenever.
“Always, everywhere God is present, and always He seeks to reveal Himself to each one.”
The all-surpassing gift of Advent and Christmas is the grace of living as one confident that, “whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Colossians 3:17).
See you in church!