Advent is about the coming of Jesus. It’s the slow, intentional celebration of Jesus’ birth. So often we sprint toward Christmas, but Advent requires you to slow your pace and breathe in hope one day at a time.
As leaders this might feel close to impossible. It can be tempting to keep up a fast and furious pace through Christmas Eve, but if you don’t take moments to rest, wait, worship and be still, you’ll likely be running on fumes. If we’re not careful, our Advent will look more like stress, restlessness, fear, anxiety and busyness. Fortunately, there is HOPE.
The Latin root of the word “advent” or “adventus” means coming, arrival, approach.
We wait in hopeful expectation for the coming of Jesus. It’s the reason we celebrate, sing and live. We love, live, lead, serve, rest, play and work in a state of advent.
As Ann Voskamp says, “We are the Advent people.” We are always waiting, always preparing for His coming. We celebrate his birth and wait for his ultimate arrival, but we also meet his daily arrival and respond to his daily invitation to come and connect with his heart. This is our hope.
Connect with the Savior’s heart before attempting to connect with others’ hearts.
This is Advent living.
Blankets of snowy whiteness cover our hearts with freshness, healing, clarity, mercy and forgiveness. We have this eternal miracle because of one baby who grew up to give his life. Pierced crimson covers us so we may live.
Then Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” (John 18:37)
We deck the halls with jingle bells, trees, snowflakes, reds and greens. But do we deck our hearts? Do we adorn our hearts, minds and spirits with his love so pure and his salvation so true?
Adorn your heart before adorning the halls, your sermon or your program.
This daily adornment is our Advent living. We can live with this hopeful expectation because of a simple tree.
Isaiah 11 tells us of the “Righteous reign of the branch.” From the last son of Jesse, who was forgotten out in the field, comes the root of our Savior Jesus Christ. This is our hope in any and all darkness.
The tradition of the Jesse Tree finds its beginning here in Isaiah 11:1-2:
There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse,
and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit.
And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him,
the Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and might,
the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.
This is also where we get the tradition and philosophy of the upside down Christmas tree where you have the branches reaching down to you as a symbol of him reaching down to each of us. We reach back up to Him who is our hope in the darkness. From the manger to the cross, He is reaching down to us.
Reach up to the Savior before reaching out to others.
We wait eagerly for His approach, which he daily and eagerly gives. Then we respond to his outstretched arms and heart – the outstretched arms of invitation, salvation and love nailed onto a brutal cross.
Motivated by love, guided by hope he came to give his life. And so we wait in expectation.
Rest in the hope of the Lord before you leave your house—Your day starts here.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. (Romans 15:13)
We hope this sweet and simple song from Jeremy Camp’s family will meet you in your advent and stir the flames of hope within you.
It seemed like an ordinary night
But we’ve never seen a star shining so bright
There is something about this star
Even though it seems so far
Behold, Jesus is born, Glory to God the highest
Behold, Jesus is born, Glory to God forever
Now there is hope in our lives
Cause God is loving and kind
Even though we fail
He’s still Emmanuel