Advent 3.0

Here’s a fun fact about me: I grew up in the Methodist church and I ADORE the seasons of the liturgical calendar.  If you are thinking, “What in the world is a ‘liturgical calendar’ and why does it have different seasons than the rest of us?” let me explain.  

Some church denominations use the liturgical calendar to celebrate and honor the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus in a cyclical calendar.  Included in this calendar are times of feasting and fasting, just like we see the Jewish people of the Old and New Testament observing. Advent includes the four Sundays leading up to Christmas and then we celebrate Christmastide, which actually lasts for 12 days.  Yes, that song that feels like it goes on forever is actually a legitimate marker of the Christmastide season!

Basically, if you ever want to see me nerd out, just ask me about the liturgical calendar.  

I say all of that to say, preparing for Advent and Christmas[tide] is a part of my rhythms and has been for as far back as I can remember.  We celebrated Advent both at church and in our home.  When I think back on my childhood, I can vividly remember reading our Advent devotion each night and lighting the candles on the Advent wreath.  It is a tradition that I have carried over to my family now and it is probably one of my most favorite.  

One of the reasons I love Advent is that it sets aside a time to build anticipation.  As a child, it was anticipation for Christmas. Yes, presents and fun, but the miracle of a baby who was actually God on Earth and was sent to save us all filled even little Sarah Ellen with its own kind of wonder and awe.  Now as an adult who has lived some life, I am reliving that longing that the Jewish people experienced as they waited hundreds of years to hear from God.  

One of my favorite Christmas songs is “Light of the World” by Lauren Daigle and this particular section gets me in my feels every time I hear it:
“The drought breaks with the tears of a mother  
A baby’s cry is the sound of love
Come down, come down, Emmanuel”

Advent is a building to this moment in history–everything was readying for this.  When this baby entered the world, God broke His silence.  To me, that is so awe-inspiring and fills me with such hope.  I don’t know what particularly is going on in your life, but I think it is safe to say none of us are out here living easy breezy with unicorns and sunshine filling every waking minute of our days.  Hope is what is getting me through!  The hope that Jesus is returning one day.  The hope that He is here with me now.  The hope that He is in control when everything feels out of control.    

As we get ready to head into Advent, I pray you will enter it full of the wonder of a child, knowing that God is still readying us for His return and that He is still the same God that He has always been–seeing us, loving us, rescuing us.  

“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” Isaiah 7:14

SE Edwards