December 08, 2016

The Gift of Advent by Karma Pratt

This Christmas season I've been contemplating the gift of Advent. The gift of waiting. We wait for the coming of Christ, with a breathless anticipation that precedes His coming. We find expectant hope and joy in our hearts, and in the faces of our children. We experience peace and love so extravagant they defy description. We are offered grace, freely given, so that we may have life, and life to the full. 

I've been contemplating what it means to truly experience Advent. Not the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, but the moments of quiet reflection interspersed with raucous laughter and excited squeals from two four year old's who can hardly contain themselves as the countdown to Christmas continues. 


"Advent is a four-Sunday wait for the coming of Jesus. It's two-fold: we're mirroring the ancient wait for the birth of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem but we're also waiting with all of creation for the second coming of Jesus, the arrival that will wipe every tear from every eye and heal every brokenness and redeem all things."*   

This waiting is truly an incredible gift. It causes something to stir in us, something that perhaps can be forgotten or pushed aside in the busyness of every day life. Advent requires us to pause and reflect on the true gift of life we have been given. 

I contemplate the coming of Christ and give thanks every time I light the candle on our window sill, breathlessly pouring prayer into and over the light. This small thanksgiving offering - lighting a candle - becomes a symbol of the very image of Jesus, the Light of the World. The gift recipient and the gift giver become one in Christ. 

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ,
the new creation has come:
The old is gone, the new is here!
2Corinthians 5:17 (NIV)

I contemplate the coming of Christ as the tree is decorated. It's such a joyous occasion, one can't help but smile through the untangling of lights, and the careful application of ornaments. There is tangible anticipation in the voice of a small boy repeating, "Pease! Pease! Pease! Christmas Star?" so that no one forgets that he, himself, would like to install that shiny star on the top of the tree, please, please, please. That star, representative of the one that shone bright enough to guide angels and wise men to the manger, is a gift; a holy reminder of God's redemptive gift given to the entire world.



I contemplate the coming of Christ as I hear small girl exclaiming, "I wish Christmas was every day!" There's so much hope in those words, so much excitement, and so much potential for truth. What would life be like, I wonder, if we continued to live as though Christ was coming everyday, even after the tree has been taken down, and the decorations put away? Sometimes we forget, but this is the true gift: the Risen King has come, and he lives in us. He defeated death, so that we may live. As we walk out our lives as Christ followers, disciples, believers, we are drawn ever inward to the mystery and grace that is Christ Jesus. 

What a gift that we can come together, and come to Christ in this way. 


My prayer is that each of us would take the time to still ourselves in the midst of Advent, and more so, in the midst of busyness, so that we may truly experience what it means to wait on the King.

May you be blessed this Christmas season,
Karma

*Sarah Bessey, Field Notes: A Monthly E-Newsletter (see http://us5.campaign-archive2.com/?u=a792d55e162ffe4c6fd3682e5&id=145dc5fc24&e=947516369f)

4 comments:

  1. Taking the time to STOP and wait, ponder, enjoy... these are important concepts that are sometimes forgotten this season. thanks for a lovely post.

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    1. I love taking the time to wait, ponder and enjoy. Blessings to you this Christmas season

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    2. I enjoyed the combination of excitement and serenity in your story about Advent in your home. This is truly something to strive for. Your stories of doing things with your four-year-old girls brought back pleasant memories of preparing for Christmas with my three children when they were young. It's good to know how much is enough. Today I shared a poster on Facebook that said, "Stop the glorification of busyness." To me, your story does that. Thanks.

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  2. The gift of waiting - we often don't appreciate it, but you are right; it is truly a gift of time not just to prepare but to anticipate and celebrate the presence of God. Merry Christmas!

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