The Anticipation of Advent

Yesterday Pastor Shawn began his series “More Than a Bobblehead.” He’ll be taking us through the season of Advent with this series.

I was convicted by Pastor Shawn’s sermon in many ways. How often have I made Jesus into a mere bobblehead, encouraging Him to nod along to my every request and demand? It also hit me when he said that if we look through the book of Acts, there is nothing to tell us that life with Jesus will be cushy. This was reaffirmed last night when my husband and I were reading 1 Peter together — its message is wholly encouraging and uplifting, but also acknowledges the reality of suffering in the Christian life.

I think Pastor Shawn’s series is a great one for Advent as we’re reminded that our focus, our need, our everything is Jesus. The King of kings. The Lord of lords.

Advent is a Latin word that means “coming” or “arrival.”  Advent focuses on the anticipation we feel as we wait to celebrate Jesus who came as a baby so long ago. But it also looks forward to the second coming of Christ — the time when all things will be made new through the power of our great and merciful God. Therefore, Advent is a season of longing, anticipation, waiting and hope! It is a recognition that Jesus came to the world to die for our sins, to be enough for us. It is a time to look forward to the day when Jesus will truly be enough — all creation will be restored, the presence of God will be our light, and the curse of sin will be forever erased.

I was never very aware of Advent while I was growing up, but the last few years I’ve appreciated the meaningful anticipation that leads up to Christmas Day. For a few weeks, we can stop and pray, read, listen and reflect on Jesus who came to save us and will come again to restore us.

Here are three resources that might be useful for you during Advent!

* One book that has brought me to tears every time I read it is Touching Wonder by John Blase. I try to read it every Christmas season, and I am always glad that I do. The book is a retelling of Luke 1-2 and the images, the wording and the personal prayers by the author have re-framed the beautiful chapters about the birth of Jesus in ways that help me celebrate the familiar story in new ways.

* The second piece that I love during Advent is a CD I’ve been listening to on repeat — “Family Christmas Album” by the Oh Hellos. The album comes in four movements. The first movement is filled with longing — “Oh come, oh come Emmanuel and ransom captive Israel.” The final movement ends with a call for the world to rejoice and adore the King! The songs are so intentional and really succeed in moving the listener through the seasons and rhythms of Advent.

ohhellos

* The third resource is something I just discovered today. I’m not sure how the full series will go, but the first two entries were really meaningful. The Advent Project by Biola University is an interactive advent calendar. Each day they post Scripture, a devotional, a piece of artwork, and a piece of music. The calendar is meant to lead us through each portion of Advent. I signed up to have each day emailed to me, but you can also just check the website daily.

We’ve entered into the Christmas season! (The weather has made that clear.) I’m excited for Pastor Shawn’s sermon series and I’m grateful for these resources to lead us through the season. We have so many things to celebrate as we joyfully anticipate the first and second coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who lives and reigns with the Father and Spirit, now and forever!

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