This Sunday is the beginning of Advent. The word "Advent" literally means "coming." And so in this Advent season we look forward to and prepare for the celebration of the coming of Christ into our world. I'm curious, what will you do to prepare for the coming of the Christ child?
Many of us will mark the season by decorating our home, trimming the tree, putting up the lights and cranking up the Christmas music. I love this part of the Christmas season! The decorations, trimming and music become for us a visible and audible reminder that something special is about to take place. It heightens our sense of anticipation for what is to come.
Some of us will plan or participate in gatherings of family and friends. These gatherings are a wonderful opportunity to reconnect with people that we may not have seen in some time. And these celebrations force us to break from our routine and set aside time to be with the people we love and care about. It also reminds us of what a wonderful gift they are in our lives.
For many, there will be shopping and gift giving. The exchanging of gifts helps to reminder us that Jesus came to be the greatest gift of all. He came to bring the gifts of peace and joy, life and love. And his birth brought the gift of hope to every person in this world.
As we go about our decorating, as we prepare for wonderful gatherings, as we pick out the perfect gifts, may all of it point us back to the ultimate meaning of the season. This is a celebration of God's perfect gift, given for us. And so I pray that these next four weeks that we call Advent will be for each of us an opportunity to prepare our hearts to welcome Jesus.
In this time of preparation, I would encourage you not to rush the season. Savor the moments with friends and loved ones. Take time each day with God in prayer. Make room for Jesus in this holy season. Experience the fullness of the joy that is the birth of Christ.
This Sunday we launch a new series entitled "Redeeming Scrooge." It is going to be great. I know you are going to love it! I look forward to all of us being together this Sunday and in the weeks ahead as we approach the celebration of Christmas.