In recent years, Advent calendars have become a popular way to count down the days to Christmas. But Advent season is supposed to be more. Isn’t it?
In the dictionary, advent is a coming into place, view, or being, or more simply arrival. September brings the advent of back to school in Oregon. Advent of fireworks for purchase comes late in June and ends on July 5.
But Advent observed in commemoration of Christ’s first coming gets a capital a. Because it’s a proper noun referring to the four Sundays preceding Christmas.
Christmas decorations have been up in stores since early October. Yes, in our local Fred Meyer they occupied the row beside Halloween candy. Thanksgiving decorations get a freestanding display beside the aisles of wrapping paper, bows, twinkle lights, and everything else needed for a commercial Christmas.
And where is the arrival of Jesus Christ in all that fluff?
It’s interesting that Advent involves four Sundays. Does that mean we only think about Christ’s coming on Sunday?
Let’s “Keep Christ in Christmas” this year. We know “Jesus is the reason for the season.”
But do we think about what Jesus coming to Earth those many years ago meant? His Advent is essential for our redemption. His birth was required for our new birth.
Let’s face it, these days when there are elves to put on shelves, Christmas light shows to see, and multiple rounds of Christmas parties at school, work, the neighbor’s house and even church, we become more like the innkeeper and less like the shepherds. More like the scribes and less like the magi from the east.
If Jesus joined our family celebration this year, would he feel welcome? Or would he wonder why the discarded wrapping paper and plates of sweets were more important to our schedule than a Christmas program or candle-lighting service at church?
I admit, I’m feeling convicted as I write this. Since 2020, I’ve been of a mind to cancel Christmas. Yep, call me the Grinch. I am sick of trappings and trimmings. I want carols and nativity plays. I yearn for sipping cocoa while my sons or husband read the Christmas story from Luke or Matthew.
How about you? Will Jesus be part of your Advent calendar this year?