After the turkey is eaten, football is watched and shopping and decorations unpacked, we begin the season of Advent. Advent is a time rich with restlessness, anticipation and eventually joy. There are still lots of things to get done, gifts to buy, houses to be cleaned and decorated, food that needs to be cooked, and family to visit. On our faith side it is the time to remember not just the birth of Jesus but also remember his journey as a prophet and teacher destined to light a way to God. If we are not cautious, it is easy to fall into the trap of just solely focusing on the birth of Jesus. Yes a little baby Jesus in a manger is important but is not the only important piece of this advent puzzle. While Walmart and other stores begin putting up their Christmas seasonal items out now in June, while people begin to argue over the whole "Happy Holidays" I say "Merry Christmas" debate or diatribe, the world is telling us Christmas is coming and you better be ready. But our society doesn’t really tell us to be ready for the birth of Jesus but to be ready to buy stuff, take advantage of discounts, and an unspoken permission to eat more stuff. But now we as a faith family begin the season of Advent. Advent is a time of ready but not yet. It’s an in between time where we remember the past but look to the future. It’s a tension between the past and the future as we must live in the present. We desperately try to place Advent or Christmas on our timeline, but as followers of Jesus, we find like the birth of any child, it comes on their time: their schedule not ours. In the decorating, present buying, family visiting, and tradition keeping of our lives, which are all important, we tend to forget God has His own timing and agenda for things. We tend to get so distracted that we forget Christmas is so much richer, more fulfilling, and a deeper meaning than just a baby, born in a manger in Bethlehem. We tend to rush through Advent and forget that the Christ child, the Messiah, is hope for us all. We forget that the birth of Jesus is only the beginning and we don’t even know how the story ends yet. So as we prepare for Christmas let us be mindful that as we celebrate the birth of Jesus there is still hope is on the way. Let us allow this Advent season be one of getting ready but not yet finished. Because isn’t the true meaning of Christmas something that comes from the heart?
Love, Serve, and Happiness