A good pastor-friend of mine once came up with a “Top 10” list of why he loves the Advent season. I thought I would share with you his rather unique, but slightly modified, outlook into this wonderful time of year (thank you Pastor Landon):
10. The hot chocolate bar on Christmas Eve … enough said.
9. I don’t feel like I have to give anything up (like during Lent).
8. The dark, candle-lit worship space gives me chills.
7. Advent squashes my pre-Christmas stress.
6. The best meals are when the whole church shares them together.
5. I am reminded of the caring heart of our church when I see the many stockings for GRACE.
4. Nothing beats old Christmas hymns.
3. I love seeing families worship together!
2. Advent reminds me not to just look back at the cross but forward to the Big Day when Jesus returns.
… and the number one reason why I love Redeemer @ Christmas…
1. This is the only time of the year I am allowed to wield an open flame in church. (Christmas Eve Candlelit Service)
A question I am often asked is: “What is Advent?” Advent is a wonderful time of year filled with great food, catching up with friends, and most importantly, intimate moments of worship the Lord uses to re-centers our lives back on the important: God, faith, family, and my friends.
The season of Advent has been remembered in the church for years as a way for us to prepare our hearts and minds for the celebration of Christ’s birth at Christmas. The word advent comes from the Latin adventus meaning “coming” or “arrival.” These words, coming and arrival are the heart of what the Advent season is about as the church, along with all of creation, awaits with great anticipation the coming, or arrival, of Jesus Christ, born at a manger in Bethlehem. He is the long-awaited promise in the flesh, who ushered in a new covenant that finds its ultimate fulfillment on a cross and empty tomb.
As we observe the season of Advent, the story of our Savior unfolds piece by piece, as we see the Word made flesh preparing for us a future life in heaven. About the season of Advent, I found a helpful document at LCMS.org which said:
Advent begins the church year because the church year begins where Jesus’ earthly life began–in the Old Testament prophecies of his incarnation. After Advent comes Christmas, which is about his birth; then Epiphany, about his miracles and ministry; then Lent, about his Calvary-bound mission; then Easter, about his resurrection and the sending of the apostles; and then Ascension (40 days after Easter) and Pentecost, with the sending of the Holy Spirit.
Advent is a time of new beginnings! A mother experiences the fresh pains of birth. A baby pulls in air for the first time. A father looks down on a son, in awe of the detail in God’s handiwork (he is a carpenter by trade, after all). All these things set in motion by the omniscient and omnipotent hand of our Heavenly Father. This is Advent: God coming to us, in the flesh of a small child who would grow up to one day selflessly make another bed, not in a manger but on a cross (Matthew 1:23; John 1:1, 14). From cradle to cross to tomb, the beginning of creation’s salvation story takes root, leading all the way to heaven itself (Luke 19:10; Romans 5:8; 8:32; Galatians 4:4-7; 1 John 4:10).
May you experience a new beginning this Advent and Christmas season. And may God bless you and your family as we join together to worship the birth of the long-awaited Christ child this Christmas!
“Yeah Lord, we greet Thee Born this happy morning
Jesus to Thee be all glory Word of the Father
Now in flesh appearing
Oh, come let us adore Him … Christ the Lord!”