Embracing Advent

December 4, 2010
by John Stuart

Psalm 115:2 – Why do the nations say, "Where is their God?" (NIV)

    Q: What's the best way to keep Christ in Christmas?
    A: Go to church on Sundays.

It always amazes me that so many people complain that Christmas just isn't the same, and yet they never seem to connect their spiritual emptiness with their lack of attendance at church worship. If we are bombarded with commercial pressure for well over sixty days, then we are bound to be overwhelmed, especially if we don't take time out to be with the Lord and His people during the season of Advent.

Over the years, I've sadly watched young parents crucify themselves emotionally and financially in order to try to make Christmas perfect for their children. I've seen families get frantic and fight over details about who is hosting Christmas dinner this year. And I've looked at beleaguered workers and sales people practically killing themselves in order to boost their figures in the last month of the year. In the midst of so much pressure, it's so much easier to let go of God and miss the point of the whole celebration.

The church prepares us for Christmas in meaningful, traditional, and time-honoured ways. The four Sundays in Advent are worship vehicles to bring us closer to God in peaceful, priceless, and precious ways. Instead of wondering what Christmas is all about and turning it into a nightmare, we honestly and simply need to get with God's program, and make Advent a spiritual adventure where we refocus our lives on Christ.

The gospel truth is always this simple. We don't need to put Christ back into Christmas; He is already there. We need to put ourselves back into Christ — church gives us that wonderful opportunity every Sunday.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, keep us from the merciless busy-ness of Christmas and lead us to the stillness of God's kingdom. Protect us from going overboard in order to please other people, and enable us to make and take time to please You. Give us a heart to be in worship on Sundays and open our souls to Your holy presence. In Your sacred name, we sincerely pray. Amen.

About the author:

John Stuart <traqair@aol.com>
Knoxville, Tennessee, USA

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