December 3, 2007


Advent is the beginning of the Christian Year, and is a four week time of anticipating the coming of God in Christ in the birth of Jesus. It is our privilege to receive the gracious gift of God's presence in Christ. It is our task to prepare for his coming anew and not miss life's greatest gift.

As my lectionary prayer book says -

"We do get another chance! ... we get the opportunity to begin again. Once more the full story of God's grace is awaiting our discovery. Once more we shake off the failures and victories of the past, and we get a blank page to write the story of our companionship with God in Christ. Once more we get to listen and respond in faithfulness to the God who comes to us so humbly, intimately, and personally in the birth of Jesus ... Advent initiates once again remembering, retelling, and celebrating the whole drama of God's revelation ... Advent confronts us once again with God's unparalleled effort to communicate the message that all humankind is embraced and held close by a God of love. Jesus Christ has come, is present with us, and will come again in final victory when all darkness, pain, and evil will be no more."

Advent means "to come". It is the Feast of the Nativity called "Christ's Mass" and it goes beyond just one day of celebrating. I love the days of preparation, desiring a journey of awakening anew in a deeper way. In the remembering, rereading, and retelling the stories of 'His-story' we see that Christ was waited for and came in the past. Because the present moment is the only moment of actual living, I don't want to waste it in not being present to Christ. The past gives me strength to live well in the present. And in Christ we have the promise of a future.

A wreath is what is usually used for Advent with four candles, one to be lit each week, then a center Christ child
candle (the Light of the World) is to be lit Dec 25th. I have a pottery wreath with a water reservoir to keep little evergreen boughs fresh, and it sits on the kitchen table. I heard Sunday that the wreath had started in Scandinavia as a wagon wheel - actually taken from their wagon - so they couldn't travel, and therefore wouldn't be too busy.

Week 1 is the Prophecy candle.
The prophets foretold of Jesus' coming. They waited, hoped and trusted. In the preparations for Christmas we need to prepare our hearts; make room in our hearts for Christ to be 'reborn' in some special ways this season - as in every day, all year, every year. We need to 'make space' in our busy ordinary days so we can anticipate His presence with us.

"O Come, O Come Emmanuel"
(God with us!)
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