From the Pastor:
Now in those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." For this is the one referred to by Isaiah the prophet when he said, "THE VOICE OF ONE CRYING IN THE WILDERNESS, 'MAKE READY THE WAY OF THE LORD, MAKE HIS PATHS STRAIGHT!'" Matthew 3:1-2
As I write this article it is still November. The Thanksgiving Turkey is barely gone and yet I find myself already peering at Christmas and thinking it is just around the corner. My thoughts have been turned to visions of all the things that have to get done before Christmas Day, the tree has to be put up and decorated, the gifts have to be purchased and wrapped, the children have to practice for the Christmas play, there are celebrations and festivals and parades and Christmas dinner and Christmas outfits and Christmas carols, and, and, and, and. I am exhausted just thinking about all of it! So much to do and so little time!
As we look ahead to Christmas it is so easy for us to get so busy that we forget all about the season ahead of Christmas that is so important: Advent. We are slowly losing some of the “second tier” festivals on the Christian year. Seasons and Times that everyone revolved their lives around centuries ago are no longer considered as vital as we fill our lives with so much busyness. In our rush to get to where we are going, we have lost the ability to enjoy the journey. To slow down and contemplate.
I remember riding in the car to drive to Grandma’s house for Christmas each year. It was a 6-hour drive plus stops. This was in the days before everyone had a device in their hand. (In fact, our old Dodge Aspen barely kept the back seat heated!) Which meant we had to entertain ourselves for the trip. We would sing together as a family (I especially remember singing the Kardiac Kids song in 1981), we played license plate bingo, we played the alphabet game and always got stuck on Q (there was one on the whole trip), and generally enjoyed our time together as a family. The journey was part of the whole vacation. (Even if I did ask “Are we there yet?” a thousand times!)
As we get closer to Christmas let us not forget that little season of Advent. Advent is a season of quiet reflection, of slowing down and refocusing our hearts and minds. It is a season for us to see from God’s Word just who we have allowed ourselves to become, what we have allowed ourselves to do, so that we can rejoice at the great gift of the Christ Child for us poor sinners. For Christmas is about the gift of God’s Son to save us from our sins. This journey is not to get us to feel extra sorry for ourselves but to open the eyes of our heart to what God has given to us.
So, this Advent let us slow down and journey with God’s Word and let it renew our love for God and His gifts to us. Let us not get so busy that we don’t take time in God’s Word to let Him fill us up with His love to us.