(Post by: Pete Yost)
I was having lunch with a group of friends this past week, and one of them said something that caught my attention. Made me think. Made me reach inside of myself.
At first, I thought, where has he been all of his life? How did he miss it?
My friend Calvin asked, “What is Advent? I’ve never heard of such a thing. We are lighting an Advent candle this coming Sunday at church, and I don’t know anyone who knows what this means.”
“We’ve celebrated Advent forever, since I was a little girl”, came the reply from one of the women in the group. “But I don’t understand it either.”
The word “Advent” is derived from the Latin word adventus, meaning “coming”. During this season of preparation, Christians would spend 40 days in penance, prayer, and fasting to prepare for this celebration; originally, the celebration of waiting on the Christ child to arrive.
Calvin is a Christian. He loves Jesus. However, he was bewildered because the people in his new church only celebrated Advent because it was something they do each year.
It is a ritual.
On the other hand, there is Hunter, a young single mom with two kids, who recently told me she wants to reconnect her life with Jesus. She has made some terrible decisions in her life which has resulted in great emotional pain and suffering.
During the past week she has decided to intentionally seek God and praise Him. She is excited and joyful while sensing the Presence of Christ anew. She found this song and sent it to me…
Everybody’s got a blank page
A story they’re writing today
A wall that they’re climbing
You can carry the past on your shoulders
Or you can start over.
Regrets, no matter what you goin’ through
Jesus, He gave it all to save you
He carried the cross on His shoulders
So you can start over
Advent is a time of Anticipation, not Anxiety. Advent is not a Ritual, but a Relationship. Advent is not a Ceremony, but a Celebration. Advent is not Looking Backwards, it is Looking Forward.
Calvin was confused because his church friends really did not understand the meaning of Advent. They could not explain the meaning of Advent to him. However, Hunter knows fully what Advent means because she is celebrating a new life, a new start with Jesus.
The question for each of us, is, are we able to confidently explain what Jesus did to save us from our sin, or are we insecure and unsure of the meaning behind Advent/Christmas?