Remember how you felt as a child once Thanksgiving was over? Your thoughts quickly switched from Pilgrims to Christmas as you made sure that your folks knew what those special somethings were that you desperately wanted for Christmas. I don't know about the sugar plums dancing in my head, but I do remember dreaming of that new bike or the basketball set that I wanted. And it just seemed like Christmas would never arrive; the anticipation nearly killed me.
But now that we are all grown up and have put most childish thoughts aside, we have every reason to be just as excited, in fact more so, than we were during Christmas long ago. Today marks the first Sunday of Advent, the first season of the new church year and the beginning of a period when we anticipate the upcoming birth of the Christ Child. Just think about it. In just over four weeks we will celebrate that birth of the Prince of Peace, the Son of God who came to earth in human form to live and die for us and thereby offer us the ultimate gift, the gift of eternal life.
In the weeks ahead we will be busy getting things ready for the Holidays. And I know that it is easy to get so wrapped up in the preparations with the shopping, the planning of special foods for upcoming meals and the parties and gatherings with families and friends. But I hope we will all pause, take time to remember what Advent is all about, and give thanks daily for the opportunity that the joy and hope of Christmas means to each of us and our lives. It is something that should never be taken for granted, for it is something so Divine and so Majestic that only a loving and giving Father could even think of providing such a wondrous gift for we mortal sinners.
So enjoy the upcoming season with its festivities, lights and sounds, and smells and tastes, but remember that without Jesus Christ at the center of it all it is really meaningless. Without Him in our heart it is just another day and another shallow time. Put his love and joy in your heart and smile like you've never smiled before, because the change He will bring to you will give you a peace and an understanding that will let you rest and be glad.
As the verse from Revelation tells us, Jesus is the root of all things. And accordingly, the celebration of the greatest birth in the history of the world, the birth of a young child in humble circumstances who is the King of Kings is nearly upon us. Praise His Holy Name.
Dear Lord, We thank you for our love and grace and for giving us the reason to celebrate Advent and what it means. As we light the Advent candles for this and the next three weeks, help us to truly understand the importance of the event that we anticipate, the birth of a child who will become our Savior and the King of all Kings. We ask in Jesus' name. Amen.