“As it is written in the prophet Isaiah, ‘See I am sending my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way; the voice of one crying out in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.’”
Advent is once again upon us. It is once again the time when we live in two realities; the reality of the church, where we sit in darkness, preparing for the coming of the light, the Christ; and the reality of the world, where Christmas lights are already up, Christmas songs are already playing and Santa Claus has already arrived in all the malls.
So, yes, before December 25, we prepare for Christmas, by getting our houses in order and our gifts bought and wrapped. However, as Christians, Advent is more a time to prepare ourselves for the coming of Christ. We prepare to celebrate that Christ came to live with us, to teach us and to save us. We try to recall and imitate those values of Christ; to share, to give and to love all those who are in want.
Advent is a time when we can prepare together as a family for the coming of Christ. For children, Advent time is naturally a time of preparation, anticipation and excitement of things to come. One of the ways we can heighten the sense of expectancy is to try to make this time with your family more intimate and simple. Save some Christmas carols until Christmas and sing some lovely Advent hymns. Create rituals around lighting a family Advent Wreath, make a Jesse Tree, or try to find a religious themed advent calendar.
Another way to prepare is to observe St. Nicholas Day. St. Nicholas is the real person on which we base our current Santa Claus. St. Nicholas was a third century bishop of what is now Turkey. He was known for his kindness and generosity to children and the poor. St. Nicholas was a giver, who did good deeds of love and justice in secret. We, too, can celebrate this spirit of mystery during advent, as we think about doing acts of kindness.
Advent devotions are available in the narthex. Take them home and use them to help you prepare for the coming of Christ.
Peace and Blessings,
Pastor Nadine Nicholds