Each year many church congregations around the world prepare themselves for the celebration of Christmas by observing the season of Advent. It is a common thing for some of those churches to have what is called the “Hanging of the Green”, a special service of decorating the Sanctuary while singing Christmas hymns, hearing various ensembles of all ages sing, and hearing readings which explain the elements of the Christmas celebration. This, and my next few posts (two each week) will be excerpts from a series of readings I wrote for our congregation just a few years ago.
The first reading deals with the question, “What is Advent?
The word “Advent” is a Latin term which means “the coming.” Thus, this Holy Season of Advent is a time when we remember the words of the prophets foretelling of the Christ and we prepare ourselves for the coming of the Messiah, Jesus Christ. We celebrate these days of Advent in celebration of His birth and in expectation of His return, at which time He will establish His kingdom on this earth.
Through the centuries, Christians have observed a time of waiting and expectation before celebrating the birth of the Savior at Christmas. The Advent season is a time for reflection and preparation, but its mood is joyful. Advent has been enriched by Christian tradition to reflect its distinctive Christian meaning. It proclaims the revelation of God’s love as expressed in Christ’s birth in a humble stable, His sacrificial death on the cross, and His victorious resurrection! It points to the hope of Christ’s coming again as the King of kings and Lord of lords. Advent makes innkeepers out of all of us, asking each of us to make room for the arrival of Christ the King. Let us today prepare room in our hearts, our lives, and our homes for the Lord Jesus!