I realized today just how much time has flown by! It is already almost the second Sunday in Advent!! For many friends and peers this means lots of shopping and being generally busy with "Christmas" stuff. Things are different for me, the second Sunday in Advent means not only am I filled with the hope of Christ, the understanding and mindset that the promises we have in God through Christ are awesome, but I turn toward the peace of Christ. Some of the most powerful words in scripture for me are when Jesus says, "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you." To think about that peace, to share signs of Christ's peace every Sunday is humbling to me. When I think about it, my mind goes straight to the cross. I have the same peace, given by Christ to me, that Christ had in His own journey to the cross. Each Sunday we go about passing this peace to one another, speaking it, but do we honestly think about what it really means to share and express that peace to one another?
I hope and pray that during Advent our focus on being Chrsit's light in the world around us will be completely hopeful, hopeful for the celebration of Christ's birth in the past, Christ's presence today and tomorrw, and Christ's return! After all that is what we are celebrating. May we all be aware of the peace Jesus came to bring. The peace Jesus left with us and gave us, just as He gave of himself.
Advent is by far my favorite season of the church, not because it means Christmas is drawing closer each day. Not because I love to shop, not because I love getting gifts, but because the lectionary focuses on the incarnation of the one who came into this world as a humble servant, living for me, dying for me, raising from the grave for me, and continually intereceding for me. It is a time for me to focus on what makes this time of year so special. A new beginning to the church season, to refocus and gain a new perspective each time we come into the season. There is always something to learn, each year, each season, each day, each minute. It all depends on where our hearts are. Are our hearts focused on Christ, the reason for the season? Or are our hearts focused on the "Holiday Season" of America? Are we more worried about the perfect gift than we are the fact that Jesus Christ is alive and living, that the reason we celebrate is because of the precious gift God blessed us with?
Advent in America is tough stuff, but my prayer is that we can keep Christ at the center of the season. Sometimes it just takes a reminder, I am often guilty of getting caught up in what the culture has made the holiday...but Advent is a reminder that it is a HOLY DAY...and that is what should be the focus!