December 1 2012
Here begins Advent – a time between – between Autumn and Winter, Thanksgiving and Christmas, between not yet here and already come.
I also think of Advent as sort of the Winter Lent.
As a kid, Advent meant that we opened small doors on a glitter-infested picture, called an advent calendar. It was a formalized countdown to Christmas. For me it served to build excitement and anticipation for the eventual arrival of Christmas.
For me, Advent means that it is a legitimate time of the year to bring out Christmas carols. But not before we sing a few Advent hymns.
The hymn by Charles Wesley, which we sing to a couple of wonderful old hymn tunes; Stuttgart and Hyfrydol . Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus has a verse reminding us of the long anticipation of waiting for the Messiah and one that looks forward to the end – when Jesus finishes our rescue, and we are home with him.
Come, thou long expected Jesus
1. Come, thou long expected Jesus,
born to set thy people free;
from our fears and sins release us,
let us find our rest in thee.
Israel’s strength and consolation,
hope of all the earth thou art;
dear desire of every nation,
joy of every longing heart.
2. Born thy people to deliver,
born a child and yet a King,
born to reign in us forever,
now thy gracious kingdom bring.
By thine own eternal spirit
rule in all our hearts alone;
by thine all sufficient merit,
raise us to thy glorious throne.
I have difficulty in getting into the spirit of waiting for Jesus to be born. Here’s why:
- I know that Jesus was born – amazing! that the Creator, The One who created the world, would limit and wrap himself in created flesh in order to make himself known to his rebellious people.
- I know of his life on earth and his execution and burial.
- I know that after that, he appeared to many people alive.
- I know that some 40 days later, he went up from the earth and disappeared into clouds. The people who were there were told that he would come back in a similar fashion, someday.
- I know that Jesus is alive and ruling, and that his work is finished, and that he is still is working through his Holy Spirit and people who listen to him.
- And I know that he is planning to come back to earth and gather us up and take us home to be with him.
– and I know that to people who don’t know Jesus, all that sounds pretty weird….
So in Advent, what are we anticipating? What’s the deal?
For what, or for whom are we waiting?
Is there something that you want Jesus to do?
Is there something that Jesus is saying to you?
Is there something that seems hard to believe?
I suggest that we stop and think about those things, and pray – talk to Jesus. Here is how you do that: “Jesus, is there something that you want to say to me?” or “Jesus, I find _______ hard to believe.” or just talk with him. He doesn’t need us to have everything figured out – or to have all the right words.