Christmas is well on it’s way! Our tree is up, the presents have been bought, there’s a Santa at every mall, even my coffee this morning had a Santa in it.
December is a crazy wonderful time of year. In our family we have 3 birthdays in the lead up to Christmas (including mine, hooray!), end of year events, Christmas services, work deadlines, holidays to plan, and of course all the presents to buy. I love the Christmas lights, the family times, the time off work. It’s my favourite time of year, but, to be honest, I’m pretty exhausted already… and there’s still 2 weeks to go. Yikes.
I’m well aware that not everyone loves this time of year. Many people have had enough of the chaos, the commercialisation, the pressure and the presents; they’re well and truly over Christmas. At the same time though, it’s interesting to hear that people are rediscovering the season of Advent as a solution to all the Christmas craziness.
In a recent article on Relevant, Louis Giglio said that when we celebrate Advent “we turn down the volume on the culture and we turn up the volume on the Spirit of God. We let that voice guide us and remind us that this season is about a promise that God is going to do what God has promised He is going to do. And He’s going to do that for every single one of us who has put our hope in Him.”
If you have been part of an Anglican church for a while, this Advent thing may well not be new to you. But like so many great things Anglicans do, we might just be so used to it, that we don’t appreciate it. As we light a candle each week on the Advent wreath, we forget that this season isn’t just a countdown to Christmas or an excuse to eat little chocolates every day from your Advent calendar. We forget that what Advent is about is the expectancy and hope that the season brings. It is an opportunity to slow down – to pause and find Jesus in the midst of everything. It’s a chance to remember God’s promise for the future, that Jesus is coming again and that he is making all things new.
Each year I like to get out my book of Advent devotions and recently I’ve loved picking up the World Vision Advent in Art reflections as well. However the last couple of weeks have been unusually hectic, and I realised I’d forgotten to kick off my normal Advent traditions, and I’ve really noticed the difference it’s made. Not taking that time to slow down and reflect on what this season is all about has definitely not been a good thing for my soul. So I’m a bit late starting Advent this year, but it’s better late than never I reckon. Because Christmas without Advent, is like a birthday party without cake, and as my 5 year old will tell you, it’s just not a party without cake.
So if you’re like me and a bit late celebrating jumping on board with Advent, it’s not too late. Why don’t you join me over these next two weeks. I’m going to try to dial back the Christmas chaos just a notch, and lean just that bit more into Jesus, the one who has come, and is coming again.