The past week and a half have been busy, busy, busy. While several of my regular weekly activities are closing down for the semester, holiday activity is picking up, not to mention, there’s only five shopping days left.
Until Advent that is. Sunday, November 29, is the first Sunday of Advent this year, and though it has made the last few weeks a little busy, I am happy to report that my Christmas shopping is nearly complete.
It’s a bit of a ridiculous proposition that I would create chaos in my life for one month so as to avoid chaos in my life another month. But you know how the holidays are. Even if you do everything you can to keep December low-key, it just doesn’t turn out that way.
So this year, I am redoubling my efforts. Getting the Christmas shopping out of the way is just one tactic. I’ve also got about half of the wrapping done, and as long as I don’t fritter away too much of the long Thanksgiving weekend, I’m hoping to have my Christmas cards addressed and ready to mail.
But still, the question. Why do it? What is is about December that’s worth fighting for my time? It’s not just maintaining the true meaning of Christmas. It’s about more than that. It’s more about the true menaing of Advent. Or, to put it another way, it’s about longing for Jesus.
Though connecting with Jesus in this way shouldn’t just happen in December, with all of the activity and distraction of the month, it’s an important season to practice the quieter disciplines of quiet, simplicity, solitude, and reflection. To remind ourselves that this life, this world, isn’t all we’re made for. And to take courage in the promises of Jesus that He is coming again.
That’s the mystery of Advent I find so compelling. Looking back at the expectation of Jesus from the past, before He came to earth, when every Jewish mother hoped the baby in her womb might be Messiah. And also looking ahead, when one day we’ll see our Savior riding on the clouds returning for his bride.
And then the often overlooked aspect of Advent: longing for Jesus to come and meet with us each day.
Jesus has been with me in the workplace pitch-ins and the in the check-out lines of local retailers. He’s been by my side as I finished up the fall semester Bible study and bounced around during my last water kickboxing class.
But now, I long to go with Him, into the inner room, next to the Great Throne, and renew that sense of longing again.
Will you come with me?