2. Are we entering into the journey of Advent or just joining the celebration of Christmas?
The older I get, the more important I realize Advent is. Advent is the period of time leading up to Christmas. Throughout church history, this time of waiting and anticipating is what has made Christmas so amazing. It’s a time of hearing the story not once or twice but over a period of days and weeks. We contemplate it together as we wait for the culmination, Christ’s birth, on Christmas Day. That’s what Christmas is all about.
Advent slows us down. The season lets us ponder incredible events, all wrapped up in the themes of Hope, Peace, Joy and Love. This is a powerful opportunity. We can help children embrace and understand how Jesus’ birth fits into a larger story of who we are and who God is. And as members of God’s family, kids get to be part of this story.
3. Are we keeping Christ as our focus, or is he the afterthought?
Yes, church family, I’m looking at you. Because this is the craziest, busiest time of the year for church people, especially ministers. So many things are happening outside of church as well as inside. Cantatas and concerts, breakfasts and banquets, programs and performances, evening services and midnight services, and everything else that comes with them.
Although those things all may be “about” Jesus, they are not Jesus. And while they all may feel important, we need to be careful that they enhance the story of Christ. Don’t clutter the season with even more distraction. Kids see and remember, so let’s be sure that what they remember is Jesus. As Linus says, “That’s what Christmas is all about.”
A great video about the church calendar explains how the church has celebrated Christ’s life throughout history. The narrator says, “Ordinary season has passed; it’s time to inhabit His Story.”
That’s the beauty of Advent and Christmas. It’s our chance, as the church of God, to enter into the story of Jesus’ life and to celebrate once again the Greatest Gift. The Word became flesh and took up residence among us.
Advent leads to Christmas, and Christmas to Epiphany (God’s revelation to all mankind, symbolized by the wise men). Epiphany leads to Lent (a time of testing and trial, reminding us we have a Savior who knows what it is to be human). Lent leads to Easter, Easter to Ascension, and finally Ascension to Pentecost. There God once again comes to earth, in the form of the Holy Spirit, and takes up residence in mankind.
This is the story of God and the story of us.
And this is the story we must share with our children, over and over. It’s not a dream of what could be but a beautiful picture of the reality of God’s presence and love in our lives.
So, my friends, “Ordinary season has passed; it’s time to inhabit His Story.” That’s what Christmas is all about, for children young and old. Blessed Advent and soon, Merry Christmas!
This article about what Christmas is all about originally appeared here.