I love Christmas. The family traditions. The food. The decorations. The music. The movies. Everything about Christmas brings warm memories for me. I look forward to this season all year (ask my roommates, to whom I asked if we could get a Christmas tree in October). Now that it’s here, I’m trying to make time each day to reflect on the reason for the season. We hear that phrase over and over, so much so that it’s lost its meaning. But this season, called Advent, is the time of year that makes me anticipates the celebration of the first coming of Christ on Christmas morning, but also reminds me to anticipate His second coming on that Day.
However, this season to some doesn’t bring the childlike joy and anxious anticipation that bubbles up within me. It is a painful reminder of lost loved ones or family members who are far away or children who’ve begun to make bad choices. This past year, in my world travels (Japan and the Bahamas) and my interactions with friends, family, students, and members of my congregation, I’ve become aware of so much brokenness, hurt and suffering on a global scale. I’ve heard people ask, “Why did God let this happen?” and witnessed others question their faith. My heart aches with them and everything in me wants to bring restoration and healing to their brokenness.
But I can’t. I’m not their savior, but I know the One who is.
For now, I can celebrate Advent with them, share Hope with them, and look forward to the second Advent, when Jesus comes back and fixes what I can’t.
My neighbor bought me an Advent Calendar this year, and every day my roommates and I get to open a little tin and enjoy the delicious treat inside. It’s a tangible way to countdown to Christmas and a reminder for me to be thankful this season. I’m also reading John Piper’s Good News of Great Joy, a free ebook of daily devotionals written specifically for Advent 2013.
How are you celebrating the season this year??