So soon? Tomorrow I will turn my calendar and know that the season of Advent has begun again for real. I shouldn’t be surprised by this. After all, my neighbors have had Christmas lights adorning their homes for at least a week now and channels such as Hallmark have been showing Christmas movies since Halloween, it seems to me. So I really have no excuse for feeling surprised that it is once again the “advent of Advent.” Wasn’t it just yesterday that I finally got all the Christmas decorations packed away? Or was that a lifetime ago? Both seem equally true to me.
Nevertheless, it is the Advent season once again. It is time for me to prepare all over again for “the arrival of a notable person, thing or event” as the dictionary definition of advent says. In this case, the notable person is Jesus Christ and the notable event is Jesus’s arrival here on earth as a human baby. The miracle of Advent is that the Creator of the Universe would take on our human form with all our limitations, weaknesses and frailties and deign to dwell with us for a period of time. This is a miracle worth remembering. This is a miracle worth celebrating. Advent is the time to do both, to remember and to celebrate what Jesus did for me and for you, too, dear readers. You see, Christ Jesus –
“Who being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross!” (Philippians 2:6-8)
Imagine it. Jesus left the perfection of heaven to enter into earth’s brokenness and to walk some painful miles in my shoes and in your shoes. Remembering that alone is reason enough to celebrate. Because Jesus was born here, lived here, died here and rose again here, conquering death once for all, you and I have an advocate in the heavenly realms pleading our case before the Father. Which means you and I have a reason to celebrate!
“Therefore, since I have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let me hold firmly to the faith I profess. For I do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with my weaknesses, but I have one who has been tempted in every way, just as I am – yet was without sin. Let me then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that I may receive mercy and find grace to help me in my time of need.” (Hebrews 4:14-16)
You and I have a reason to celebrate! But if we don’t remember, we won’t know what or why we celebrate. Advent asks me to make time to remember – to clear my calendar of the mundane, and instead to focus on the greatest miracle of all time – that point in human history when God Himself became flesh and lived among us for a time. God’s prophecies were all fulfilled, His promises to mankind to send a Savior, all were kept on the night of Jesus’s birth. This is something we dare not forget. Jesus’s birth is something for us to remember and to celebrate. It is the reason for Advent. Advent is the time for us individually and collectively to once again “prepare the way of the Lord.”
Which means I guess it’s time I put away my pumpkins and get out some Christmas decor. “The way of the Lord” may have become overgrown from disuse since the last time people actively sought and prepared for His presence. But it is time once again to clear out the clutter, prepare a place and ask the King of Glory to enter in – to enter into my life, my heart and my home. Maybe Advent is about making the rough places smooth, bringing light into the places that have grown dark, throwing open the door and inviting the lowly Christ child into my life all over again.
Advent is a journey and it is time for my Advent journey to begin. It will be a journey unique to me as your journey will be to you. Mary and Joseph had their Advent adventure which ended in a stable with a baby in a manger. The shepherds had their own Advent journey, which ended at the same place. The Advent journey of the Wise Men lasted longer and ended in a different destination but the object of their quest was the same as that of every Advent journey ever undertaken – an audience with the Christ Child. And that encounter the Wise Men did receive. They were able to present Jesus with their gifts and worship Him before returning to their homelands.
The desired outcome of my Advent journey? The same as those who have gone before me. To come face to face with Jesus, fall face down at His feet, and give Him the true worship that is His due. Advent – a much needed time for me to prepare to receive the miraculous, undeserved gift of God, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
“Lift up your heads, O you gates; be lifted up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O you gates; lift them up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is He, this King of glory? The Lord Almighty – He is the King of glory.” (Psalm 24:7-10)
King of glory, baby in the manger, Christ on the cross, Leaver of the empty tomb, Conqueror of death, Lord of all life – may You find the way prepared and enter in!
sincerely, Grace Day