Christmas season is here! I LOVE this time of year. I love the lights and the decorations like many others, but most of all, I'm here for the wonder of Advent.
Advent definition: the arrival of a notable person, thing, or event.
Advent is a season of the liturgical year observed in most Christian denominations as a time of expectant waiting and preparation for both the celebration of the Nativity of Christ at Christmas and the return of Christ at the Second Coming.
Over the past several years I have learned to allow my spirit rest during this season in the hopeful expectancy that Jesus’ arrival on earth should inspire in us. I’ve learned it’s much more important and fulfilling to slow down and dwell on the miracle of Christ’s coming than to engage in the hurry, the materialism, and the consumerism of Christmas time created by our culture. By “miracle,” I’m not just referring to the fact that Jesus was born of a virgin, conceived by the Holy Spirit (though that is astounding enough). The miracle of Christmas speaks of a union we get to have with God the Father, our Creator, through the act of Jesus the Son coming to live among His created ones. Jesus left the splendor of royalty, life, abundance, and perfect harmony and unity with the Father and Spirit, to enter into our squalor! The love of Christ for us, self-centered and narrow-minded creatures, is actually beyond our comprehension! And I want to CELEBRATE it!
More than lights and decorations, I LOVE Christmas music. While I enjoy some of the secular songs, I really live for the old Christmas hymns. These songs capture the mystery, awe, and exultation of Jesus’ coming in a way that our modern language cannot communicate. The melodies of those old songs also move us toward reverence, humility, and unspeakable joy. Over the next four weeks, please join me in meditating on some of the lyrics from four different Christmas hymns in order to more fully grasp what words can’t express: the wonder of King Jesus joining humanity as a fully dependent infant, and the story of God’s relentless pursuit of our hearts to this day.
Advent begins on Sunday, November 27th. Spend some time on that day centering your heart around the wonder of Jesus' arrival. Turn your eyes and thoughts to Christ. The first devotional will go up on Monday.
Four days per week, I will share a line from a Christmas hymn as well as some passages from the Scriptures to ground us in the truth of God’s unfailing love, longing for our hearts, and His faithful justice, as expressed through Christmas hymns. My hope is that you can engage with these songs and scriptures in new ways and come to fully realize the unity we have with God the Father because of our sacrificial Lord Jesus who did not ask us to attain holiness but left everything to meet us where we are. May we have the humility this season to meet God exactly where we are, knowing He will be right there to carry us, see us, and love us unconditionally.