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From Our Pastor
I bet you’ve never had anyone wish you that before. In our rush to get to the season
of Christmas, we have mostly forgotten the season that precedes it: the season of Advent.
It has been incorporated into what we commonly call the Christmas season. We tend to desire to sing Christmas Carols and to begin the celebration of the Christmas before it actually begins. So what is the season of Advent and what does it represent?
Advent actually began in France in the fourth century (300’s) and is a celebration that marks the longing for the Messiah that had been a part of the Jewish tradition over the centuries. The Jewish people longed for the coming of the Messiah who would set them free from their bondage. This longing is reflected in the season of Advent in many Christian denominations such as our own United Methodist tradition. During Advent, we are called to prepare for and anticipate the coming of Christ into the world. While it has become primarily a celebration of remembrance, it is also a continued watching and waiting for the victorious Messiah who will one day return in power. We look back to the birth in order to see forward to the return which will be the fulfillment of his promise to return and to take us unto himself and a fulfilling of the Old Testament prophecies regarding the Messiah as a powerful king. Advent is so important that it marks the beginning for the Christian calendar and begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas Day and ends on Christmas Eve.
Sadly, as modern Christians, we have lost much of the beauty and solemnity of this season of preparing our hearts and lives to receive the coming King both as remembrance and active anticipation. In our secular world of a profitable Christmas, we are told that we need to celebrate without preparation other than the spending of money. As such, “ we lose the richness and the benefit of experiencing the promise, longing, hope, and expectation of Advent. The world, television, and shopping malls have done all they can to convince us that Advent does not matter, that it has no place in our culture, and many of us have come to accept that for our church, as well. Our faith teaches us something very different. Our faith teaches us to wait in hopeful anticipation of the fulfillment of a promise as the Jews have waited and are waiting for the coming.
I hope we can regain the understanding of Advent and the hope and joy it brings, and as a result, we can
regain the wonder of a savior who becomes one of us on Christmas. We can wonder on the season of Christmas which is comprised of twelve days beginning of December 25 and lasting until January 5. This year consider what one change you can make to create an Advent celebration that slows down your world and invites you into deep contemplation on the coming of a savior and what that means to you, to us, and to our world.
I look forward to celebrating this season of waiting with you as we prepare our hearts and lives to receive and accept the Messiah that comes to change us and our world.
Blessed to Be Your Pastor,
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