December Letter

Dear Friends in Christ
One late November when I was in elementary school I received a package from my sister who was studying in England. In it was a sort of calendar with twenty-five little shuttered windows, each with its own number. I had never seen anything like it before, so luckily my sister included a note with instructions to begin on December 1 and open one window per day corresponding with the number on the shutter. Each window re-vealed a different scene in the biblical story leading up to Jesus’ birth, along with a short passage from Scripture. I didn’t know it at the time, but as I opened a new win-dow each day and the story of Jesus’ birth unfolded, I began to understand the meaning of Advent.

Advent is a season of waiting and preparation, a time for Christians to reflect upon the birth (and second coming) of Jesus Christ to the world. Waiting and preparing seem so countercultural in our consumer-driven society. We are used to waiting and preparing when it comes to Christmas shopping, Christmas parties, and Christmas presents, but waiting for Jesus just gets lost in the mad rush of everything “Christmas.” Who has time for Advent? Well, I hope we do.

That Advent calendar helped me slow down and to think of things other than what might be waiting for me under the Christmas tree. Each day I was reminded of the wonder and excitement of the birth of Christ, the long-hoped for Messiah. As I read about angels singing, of shepherds rushing to a manger, of Mary and Joseph searching for a place to stay in Bethlehem, I began to wonder about Jesus’ return and whether it would come in my lifetime. In a small but profound way, I began to experience Advent for the first time.

As I get older, I find that I need Advent more and more. I need to pump the brakes, be still, and rediscover the awesome wonder of the Incarnation. If you are feeling the same, maybe it’s time to break out the Advent calendar and experience the richness of this season of waiting and preparation . . . maybe even for the first time.
Godspeed, Pastor Matt
matt sig