The word ‘Advent’ means ‘coming’ or ‘arrival’. The focus of the next few weeks is the celebration of the birth of Jesus at the first Advent and the expectation of his second coming in glory.
Advent is more than simply marking an event in history. It has a focus on the past and future. Advent affirms that Christ has come, that he is present in the world today, and that he will one day come again in power and glory.
The Advent calendar is a popular way to mark this season. Windows can be opened to reveal some picture associated with the story leading up to the birth of Jesus on Christmas Day – not to miss the chocolates of course! There are even Advent calendars for pets these days with the appropriate treats.
At this time of the year, Christmas lights are switched on. These are short days with daylight being as brief as it could be. It’s not surprising that the bright street decorations and the sparkle and glitter of the season raise our morale. Jesus came to a dark world; a world of sin and evil. He came as the light of the world. He came so that we might have life and hope in a depressing world. He came to put that sparkle into our lives, to give us his love and his joy.
The danger in this season is that we get so caught up in the trappings of Christmas - the shopping, the food, the drink and the festivities - that we miss the real meaning.
Jesus came to lead us out of the darkness into his glorious light. May you be encouraged during this Advent time that God loves you so much that he sent his Son so that you might have life.
Cannon Stephen Bradberry