Are we entering into the journey of Advent or just joining the celebration of Christmas?
The older I’ve gotten, the more important I realize Advent is. Advent is the period of time leading up to Christmas, and throughout church history, it’s been the time of waiting and anticipating that made Christmas Day so amazing. It’s a time of hearing the story, not once or twice, but over a period of days and weeks and contemplating it together as we wait for the culmination, the birth of Christ, on Christmas Day.
Advent slows us down and lets us truly consider the incredible events of that time, all wrapped up in the themes of Hope, Peace, Joy and Love. This is a powerful opportunity for children to embrace and understand how the birth of Jesus fit into a larger story of who we are and who God is; a story that they get to be a part of as members of God’s family.
Are we keeping Christ as our focus or is He the afterthought?
Yes, church family, I’m looking at you. Because this is the crazy, busiest time of the year for church people, especially ministers. Not only are there all the things that happen outside of church, but all the things that happen inside too—cantatas and concerts, breakfasts and banquets, programs and performances, evening services and midnight services, and everything else that comes with all of those things.
And while they all may be “about” Jesus, those things are not Jesus. And while they all may feel important, we do need to be careful that these things enhance the story of Christ and don’t clutter the season with even more distraction. Kids see and remember; let’s be sure that what they remember is Jesus.
There’s a great video about the church calendar that explains how the church has celebrated the life of Christ throughout history. In it, the narrator says, “Ordinary season has passed; it’s time to inhabit His Story.”
That is the beauty of Advent and Christmas. It is 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 who became flesh and took up residence among us.
Advent leads to Christmas, Christmas to Epiphany (God’s revelation to all mankind, symbolized by the Wise Men), Epiphany to Lent (a time of testing and trial, reminding us we have a Savior who knows what it is to be human), Lent to Easter, Easter to Ascension, and finally Ascension to Pentecost where 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 need to share with our children, over and over, not as 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.” Blessed Advent and soon, Merry Christmas!
This article originally appeared here.