Advent: A period of spiritual preparation before Christmas when many Christians make themselves ready for the coming, or birth, of the Lord, Jesus Christ.
This past Sunday was the first Sunday of Advent. Typically the advent wreath is one of the more common symbols used to celebrate this season:
1st Sunday – we light the candle of Hope – the hope we have in Christ – hope for more than this world gives us
2nd Sunday – we light the candle of Peace – The peace we find in Christ – when we are at war with life we can find peace in Him
3rd Sunday – we light the candle of Love – the ultimate love we have in the gift of Christ and what He came to earth to provide
4th Sunday – we light the candle of Joy – the Joy we have in Christ – that no matter what we can be joyful in belonging t\to Him
On Christmas we light the 5th candle – the candle representing Christ Himself – that He is the light of the world, that with Him we never have walk in the darkness of fear
I’ve been thinking about Mary as we get into this advent time of year, about the month she spent before Christ was born – thinking about what thoughts and question came to Mary’s mind as she awaited the birth of her son… knowing He was of God, how the emotions must have intensified and the excitement must have been building the last few weeks… what would her child look like? He was God’s – but He was hers too - so would Jesus resemble her at all? Would people know by looking at him something was different? Would he understand things as an infant that most other infants wouldn’t? Would her life be different beyond what every other new mothers was? If so how? Would she be able to be all she needed to be for him? Would Jesus know He was special from the beginning? After all, He was to be a king the angel said - a king whose reign would have no end… Imagine the quite moments she must have spent going over all this in her mind and in her heart… wrestling with the meanings… wondering about the miracle that was coming… how much one on one time she must have spent talking with God…
How much time are we spending in the weeks leading up to Christmas truly celebrating how incredible the birth of Christ really was, really is? Are we being still and quite enough to really let the power of what it all means in? Are we trying to wrap our minds around it all or are our minds too full of wrapping presents and getting our shopping lists done, to think about it at any length? Are we talking it over with God? What do you think God wants to say to you during this time? I can’t imagine that there isn’t something that He wants to share with each of us. This is the birth of His Son we’re talking about!
We have to put ourselves in Mary’s place I think – whether you have ever had a child or not – you can read the Gospels, and as a woman you just can’t help imagine being in that position – awaiting something so special, even the unknown of it would have been not just scary but exciting I imagine!
We have the opportunity during these weeks for our souls to truly anticipate the hope, the peace, the love, and the joy of Christ – to somehow let that Light of the World shine inside us. Let’s take the time to let the true weight of the amazing gift we were given that night over 2000 years ago – take the time to let it settle into our hearts and our souls… let the wave of love truly wash over you as Christmas Day approaches… then get ready to open once again – or maybe even for the first time - the most amazing Christmas gift the world has ever known!