It is hard to believe that Advent is upon us. The name Advent is derived from the Latin term Adventus meaning “coming”. The season of Advent in the church is intended to help the believer become filled with expectancy as we wait for the coming of Christ. As a believer we are called to use this time to rekindle our faith in the promises that arrive at Christmas and to prepare for the coming of Christ.
I’m sure that you’re expecting the usual, “turn from the secular Christmas,” Advent reflection. I have challenged myself this year to try and have a more peaceable understanding of modern Christmas traditions and even try to have a better relationship with Santa. This isn’t because I am willing to surrender to the cultural pressures, but instead I thought this year I would see if I could bring more meaning to our traditions. It’s easy to rail against secular traditions that have trumped the religious ones. I think it is a far better mission to explain, interpret and encourage participation in the deep traditions of our faith.
One part of the call of Advent is to actually remember what Christmas is truly about. It is easy even for the most devout believers to get swept up in the fun and frolic of Christmas. It can be difficult to reset our minds each year as we remember the birth of Christ. The Church has been addressing this challenge for centuries. The various traditions of the church are designed to help us connect with the watching and waiting of Advent. Here are a few traditions that might help you connect. Please check my blog at www.pastor.cpcfairfax.org for links to other resources on these traditions.
Evergreens – Use wreaths, boughs and trees to symbolize the new and everlasting life brought through Jesus the Christ.
Advent Wreath and Devotionals – Using an Advent wreath can help you slow your rush to the manger by giving you a visual symbol of the time that is yet to pass. Utilizing devotionals can be an opportunity to read and reflect on Scripture. We will have a devotional available on Sunday morning, which is the first Sunday of Advent.
Advent Calendars – This year we will have a special Advent calendar with family devotions for you and your children to use.
Christian Service – There is no better way to prepare ourselves for the servant King than by engaging in service. We have many options for Christian service. I especially want to encourage you to participate in our special Christmas food drive for Western Fairfax Christian Ministries. On December 5th you are encouraged to help provide non-perishable food items for our neighbors in need. Let’s make this our largest collection ever.
Worship – This is perhaps the most hectic time of the year for most of us. A great way to help you prepare for the coming King is to participate in worship. Christmas Eve services are even sweeter when they follow a time of Advent preparation.
I hope that you will consider this year an opportunity to rediscover the joy of Christ’s Birth and that you will join us at Christ Presbyterian Church for the wonderful journey to the manger, where we discover the greatest gift the world has ever received, Jesus Christ.