16 11 29 Sent into a Peaceful Advent
Sent into a Peaceful Advent
Advent means “coming.” It is season of anticipation for Christmas but also more deeply for the return of Jesus Christ and the close of the age. The color of Advent is purple or blue. These are the royal colors fit for the coming of King Jesus not only to Bethlehem but also on the last day. We’ll have an advent wreath with four candles representing Hope, Love, Joy and Peace. The candles count out the 4 Sundays of Advent and on Christmas Eve, we light the center candle for Christ the light of the world.
December can be a hectic, stressful and tiresome month jammed with events, shopping and family responsibilities. How can I be joyful in this season? How can I grip firmly the peace of Christ? How can I keep the holiness and sanctify of Advent? How can I be sent as a witness to the true meaning of Christ’s first and second coming?
For me the answer is in checking my attitude and planning for spiritual discipline. Otherwise, I’ll be swept away by the busyness and commercialism.
First I need to remember: It’s not my birthday. Christmas is not about me, my wants, my wishes, my desires or my agenda. It’s about Jesus. It’s about lifting him up and glorifying him. It’s about giving to him, not taking for myself. This month, Karen and I will make a special gift towards the work of the Good Fellows in Highland remembering the words of Act 20:35, “We must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”
Next, I’m not going to make comparisons between this Christmas and those of the past. I’m not going to set up unrealistic expectations for the people around me to follow. To paraphrase our Lord, “Don’t worry about Christmas, for Christmas will worry about itself. Each day has trouble enough of its own.” Live one day at a time and make the most of the present day that you live in.
Family tensions can be the most pointed in December. There are visual reminders of chairs that have gone empty around the table. There are the obligated gatherings with temperamental relatives. There’s a need for extra cooperation with an estranged or divorced spouse. Self-control is listed as one of the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:23). This gift can best be employed by considering beforehand what tensions you know you will face and committing yourself not to join in any meaningless bickering. Sometimes the best way to show love is to maintain a respectful silence and “bear and endure all things.” (1 Cor. 13:7)
I’m going to keep my daily discipline of prayer. Karen and I are sharing together each day the Sent devotional. We’re gathering with our church family on Wednesdays for dinner and time together to study the scriptures.
I’m going to invite my neighbors to Christmas Eve worship. There’s no more fruitful time to invite. Christmas is the time of high receptivity to a personal invitation to come to worship. If ever there’s a time to let your light shine, Christmas Eve is it!
In Hope and Confidence,