Christmastime is one of my favorite times of the year. It brings warm memories of shared family time, hanging lights, decorating the tree, plenty of food, and flying popcorn. It is a joyous time celebrating with family—and even remembering fondly loved ones who are no longer alive to celebrate Christ’s birth.
But as wonderful as Christmastime is, I’ve noticed that most persons, (myself included) like to jump straight to Christmas because we don’t want to go through the waiting. Christ’s birth didn’t just magically happen without notice. Predictions of his coming began centuries before he was born. For this reason, this time before Christmas we enter into a season of Advent. Advent is about anticipating the coming of Jesus. Advent is about expecting and waiting. Just as a pregnant woman has to eagerly await the birth of her child, so too, we have to eagerly await the celebration of the birth of Christ.
Therefore, during this time of advent, we are offered a chance to wait, anticipate, and expect with excitement the coming of Christ. We can enter a time HOPE: Hope for our ultimate salvation. Hope for an end to war, pain, and suffering. Hope for a day when there is no more weeping. Hope for a day when joy and love will be all around us.
We can enter a time of PEACE: We hope for a day when peace shall reign. When there will no longer be countries fighting, neighbors bickering, or children arguing. A day when the wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the kid, and the calf and the lion and cow and the bear will all get along. A day when peace will reign.
We can enter a time JOY: We hope for a day when joy will surround us. A day when we will no longer cry over the death of loved ones. A day when we are no longer inflicted with illness, loss, sorrow, or pain. A day when we can praise God will the fullness of our hearts!
And we can enter a time of LOVE: What greater love is there than this… that a father lay down the life of his son for us. We are reminded of the great love that God has for each one of us even though we don’t deserve it. What an amazing love that God has for us that he would give us the greatest gift of Christmas: the birth of his son.
So during this time I wait and anticipate with you! May you take the time to stop to reflect on hope, peace, joy, and love, as you make preparations to celebrate the birth of Jesus!
Faithfully in Him,
Pastor Cheryl Bourne