Last Sunday was the first day of Advent. Advent is a time for waiting, and preparation for Chirst who is to come again. As we prepare our home for Him, I cannot help but think about the world, and how everyone else will be celebrating this season. Even though we do it differently, I wonder about the pull that my kids could quickly get sucked into and the desire to be like everyone else.
That of course had me thinking about our Salvation history — the Bible. In the Old Testament, after the Israelites were saved, and God had established them his people. The Israelites had that same pull to be like everyone else. They wanted a king like everyone else, and even though they were warned about it, they still desired to fit in. Time and time again, God was obviously right, and the people wrong, but that didn’t stop them from desiring the same thing.
Advent Season or Christmas Season
I teach my children that we are happily in the season of Advent. It’s not Christmas season for us yet. However, the culture around us is in full swing of the Christmas Seasons. Songs about white Christmas, and Happy Holidays are blaring in all the stores (most likely to entice people to spend more). Commercials are all about Christmas gifts and how great of a person you’ll be if you buy ___ (fill in the blank with anything).
As long as snow is falling in the background, and smiles as people open gifts, and happy to get what they finally wanted its a Merry Christmas indeed! What used to be favorite time of year (as a child) has grown into something much deeper than presents and candy canes. Yet, looking around us in our Culture, that’s all we see.
Advent to me is that slow meditating wait until Christmas. It’s building up to the excitement like climbing a mountain. But just like climbing and walking, you have to rest every now and then our you’ll burn yourself out. Advent is that pause. With a candle for each week: Hope, Peace, Joy, Love, we are able to meditate and prepare ourselves to receive Him like we would a newborn baby.
What is Christmas about…
Taking Christmas away from the liturgical year, now appears empty to me. The focus is on the day to give gifts, but not the focus on why gifts are exchanged, or why people celebrate it every year. These days, its more about “What will I get for Christmas?” instead of celebrating the reason why we have a Christmas. The holiday music, the empty commercials (that are mean to pull at your heart strings), all point to itself.
Even the commercials that pull at your heart (and makes you cry), looking deeper, you are moved because of the love is shown. Yup, the commercials use that against us. The idea is that this company cares so buy our stuff, or if you buy our stuff, it shows that you care too. It all points to a greater love, but it always ends with materialism. You’ll won’t be happy until you buy this thing.
Moving away from all of that…
Detachment. Advent is about detachment and being too occupied with the joys, materials, and worries of this world, but to look forward to what is to come. It is a time for us to build up our faith, and to strengthen the weak parts. This is why I love Advent. The culture tells us to consume and be a consumer, but this season says, never-mind all of that and just lean on God.
This season is the reset that we all need. That joy we experience when starting something new and looking forward to making that resolution starts now. Before, I never understood why I felt so compelled to want to start something different around Christmas, to “start” the new year off right. Truth be told, I was already in a new year, and for me the clock didn’t start at January 1st, it started at the First Sunday of Advent.
How are we celebrating this season as a family?
We decided to take thing slowly. Since the kids have been sick, slow is all we can go. But the decorations are slowly coming out. I never had an official Advent wreath before, so we are looking for one, and I think we finally settled on one. Even though it’s late, I like to think better late than never :-).
Another way that we decided to celebrate the season is to read a Advent gospel every night, and talk about it. I’ve been using this book (that I wrote about previously) so it makes it very easy to find the passages. The important thing for us to do as a family is start our traditions. I would love to focus the season around Christ and His coming, and not so much about the motions of the season. We officially won’t decorate until the 3rd Sunday of Advent (Joy).
Just as we were excited to welcome our 5th family member around the time of Advent last year, we will be just as excited to welcome Jesus into our homes this year.
What are some ways you are celebrating Advent with your family?