OK, I need to vent a little. Why the big rush charging into Christmas the day after Thanksgiving? Or should I say Halloween? Merriam-Webster, the dictionary people, define Advent as follows:
noun \ˈad-ˌvent, chiefly British -vənt\
Definition of ADVENT
1: the period beginning four Sundays before Christmas and observed by some Christians as a season of prayer and fasting
One would think that those who celebrate Christmas, the birth of Christ, would be Christians, but when I look around I don’t see “a season of prayer and fasting”. Most people have hit the fast-forward button and gone straight to Christmas. I see plenty of Santas and Snowmen but few Advent wreaths.
The season should be a time of preparation to renew our relationship with Christ, to welcome and celebrate the little baby who was born for us. Born to show us how to live to serve one another and give of ourselves. Born to endure unthinkable pain and agony so that we may be reunited with our Heavenly Father.
Don’t think I’m all high and mighty. I haven’t been using this preparation time wisely, either. I planned to, but it hasn’t happened. I picked up an Advent daily devotional book at Church, vowing to read it faithfully. Yeah, well…I’m not even sure where it is now. I wanted to put up a Jesse tree and have family prayer time every day. You guessed it. No Jesse tree. No Advent wreath either.
There has been one ray of hope during this Advent season: my Curly Girlie. Several nights, my sweet 10 year-old has gathered the family together for scripture reading and prayer. It was beautiful. Simple and beautiful. We all climbed onto our queen-sized bed (yes, it was crowded) as she read a passage. We talked about it a little then we took turns mentioning special intentions for which we all prayed. We ended with the Lord’s Prayer and hugs. Simple and beautiful.
I’m not giving up on Advent. Just because we are almost halfway through it and I haven’t done all that I planned doesn’t mean that it is a complete failure. I can still make this a holy season. Baby steps. Just little bits at a time.
I ask you…no, I challenge you to make this season a time of prayer and spiritual growth. You don’t have to have a big, complicated schedule of praying, fasting, praying, fasting. Little acts can be a place to start. Maybe switch your car radio to the Christian music station. Instead of cursing the idiot driver tailgating you, pray that he gets to his destination safely. Smile at the overworked mother pushing a full cart at Stuff-Mart. Give thanks for what you have.
Let’s try to reclaim this Advent season and return it to the Lord. What are you doing for Advent?