Advent 4 – December 3, 2014
Jeremiah 17:7-8: But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit.
The word “Advent” comes from the Latin word “advenire” meaning “to come to”. Everything about this season is pointing us toward what is ahead – like scanning the distance for a destination we know is out there, but we cannot yet see.
When I was growing up, we lived about three hours from my grandmother on my mom’s side but we would regularly take trips to see her. I knew the road to her house very well, the curve around the giant hill by Ashby, the crystal blue lake by Barrett, the vast stretch of plains between Morris and Appleton, and then finally I could start scanning the distance for the water tower of Madison, my grandma’s town. I knew how long the journey would take as I had traveled that road so many times, and I always felt joy as we neared her house because I knew the familiar and wonderful embrace of my Grandma would be there waiting for us.
Perhaps Advent can feel like that in the church. A simple time of waiting and journeying through our days with our eyes fixed solely on Christmas. We know the joy that is to come and we can’t wait to herald the birth of our King and Savior, Jesus the Christ, yet again.
However, this is not a passive time of waiting. It’s not like sitting in a car and watching the scenery going by. There is much to do, and as people of faith we strive to remember this season is about different ambitions than what we see in ad campaigns.
I’m a fan of the organization “Advent Conspiracy” that has been around for a few years now and their message bears repeating. They stress a simple message during this season:
Worship fully – because Christmas begins and ends with Jesus.
Spend less – and free your resources for things that truly matter.
Give more – of your presence: your hands, your works, your time, your heart.
Love all – the poor, the forgotten, the marginalized, the sick, in ways that make a difference.
If we focus on these things, we will truly have prepared well during this season of Advent and Christmas morning will dawn with more joy and hope than ever before.
Reflection: What is truly the best gift you have ever received? Why?
p.s. You can check out Advent Conspiracy at http://www.adventconspiracy.org or on Facebook.