Most basically advent is the arrival of a notable person, thing or event. While we might be fooled to believe that this season of Advent is about waiting for the arrival of Christmas presents, we are actually waiting for the arrival of something (or should I say someone) much more important.
The season of Advent in the church is the time of waiting for the arrival of Jesus the Christ, God incarnate who comes to us as a tiny baby.
Now, you might be thinking, but wait a second! We haven’t even celebrated Thanksgiving yet. Aren’t you jumping ahead a bit?
Well, the answer is yes. We’re doing something different with Advent this year by starting one week earlier than church tradition tells us to—and since Thanksgiving is late this year, we started last Sunday—one Sunday before Thanksgiving!
Now, I have to admit that I was not expecting so many of you to know that we jumped ahead of church tradition. The liturgist emailed me asking about it last week when I sent out the worship order. The 4th-5th grade Sunday school class asked me about it during their acolyte training Sunday morning when they noticed there are only four candles on the Advent wreath…and there are five Sundays before Christmas! One of the children asked me about it during the Story time in the middle of worship and a handful of people asked me before worship began Sunday morning.
Here’s the deep-down reason the worship team and I decided to try this experiment this year; we think that having more time to prepare our hearts and minds for the coming of Christ will be a good thing. You know that there are already holiday decorations up on the Loop and I’ve already heard Christmas carols in a few stores.
Rather than selling out to the popular culture and begin dreaming of the arrival of stockings, St. Nicholas, and reindeer, I want you to start Advent early. Start thinking about the prophets’ disturbing call to peace, Mary and Joseph’s startling realization that they are pregnant, and the way this newborn baby turns our whole world upside down.
Each week during this Advent journey, as you come to worship look around for a new sign that Christmas is coming and the Christ-child is on his way!