Do you have a secret place where you hide Christmas presents in the months leading up to the Christmas celebration? Are there family members who know where that space is, but won’t peek because they want the delicious surprise when they unwrap the gift? Maybe there are children around who have no idea about this special place and are amazed when gifts appear that they knew nothing about.
Advent feels like a little bit of both of those experiences to me. A time of expectant waiting, knowing fully the amazing gift God is about to deliver and yet, at the same time, a period of slowing down to savor the season. It’s an opportunity to set aside special moments to fully experience the joy and the miracle of Christmas, to focus on Christ’s birth in the midst of the chaos that covers our holiday to-do lists.
Starting four Sundays before Christmas, Advent is a chance to carve out time to commemorate the coming of Christ into the world. It’s embracing a Psalm 46:10 lifestyle for a few weeks each year: “Be still and know I am God.” Be still. Wait. Savor. Gather. Invite.
That’s what the Christmas season should be about, isn’t it? Instead of sprinting toward Christmas morning, Advent invites us to breathe deeply and appreciate the anticipation of Christ’s birth. But how do we do it? How do you add just one more thing to our already overwhelmed and overbooked holiday schedules?
What we must realize is that it’s not about adding one “more” thing—Advent is about making space for the best thing, so our hearts have room for Jesus as Christmas arrives. Think about it—are you hurried, hustling, and harried? Or are you slowing down, focusing on God more than gifts, and asking God to show you how to shine a light during the season? If you lean toward the first description (like I usually do at this time of year), what are some ways you—and your family—might benefit from a shift in focus over the next few weeks?
I invite you to slow down and celebrate Advent by perhaps reading a daily devotion as we move toward Christmas. Maybe you have an Advent calendar you haven’t set up in a long time and this is the year you dust it off and put it out, or better yet, how about setting up an advent wreath and read a devotional as you light the candles of hope, peace, joy and love.
This Advent, may you celebrate with expectant hearts, savoring the season as we look forward with excitement to receiving the greatest gift God’s children have ever received.