01/12/21 • Dave Tubby
Our Advent wreath!
If we allow it to, Advent can be a really stressful time. We remember the presents not yet wrapped (or got!!), the cards that need to be written, the turkey that needs to be bought, the expectations of all those around us being met. We can find ourselves longing for Boxing Day when we can collapse, relax and eat the left-over cheese.
Friends, if you’re approaching Advent in this frame of mind – STOP!
Read through that list of things again. They are all immaterial. All of them. Advent is not about any of them.
We can run around fooling ourselves that this time is about being prepared and ready for the big Christmas Day Blowout, but we are missing the point.
Because Advent is about waiting for Jesus to arrive. In the busy-ness of life, it’s a time to recognise that Jesus broke into our world, precisely to stop us from trying desperately to survive on our own. When Jesus was born, the people had waited for 400 years, and yet still they weren’t ready to see Him.
Every morning, we have the opportunity to ready ourselves for Jesus to break in. Every person you encounter today will be made in the image of God, someone who Jesus uses to speak to us. The homeless person on the street, the passer-by wanting directions, the person in the supermarket reaching for a tin just out of reach. Dietrich Bonhoeffer said ‘as long as there are people, Christ will walk the earth as your neighbour, as the one through whom God calls you, speaks to you, makes demands on you.’
Think about the people you’re seeing or have seen today. Now consider every one of those people as Jesus. How do we treat them? How do we honour them? Every time we notice Jesus in them and we respond, we live out an act of worship.
And when Boxing Day arrives, Advent is still here. Our lives are one long wait for the Last Advent – when Jesus returns again. So over the coming month – and beyond - let us live out a life of preparation, anticipation and hope for Jesus. Let us keep watch and let us worship.
May the joy of Christ’s arrival be in your hearts this Christmas, friends. Jesus is our only hope, and He is God with us.