Saturday, December 1, 2012

PREPARATION AND ANTICIPATION

 SCANDINAVIAN ADVENT CANDLE HOLDER
Today is the first day of Advent.  And during this season of advent, I'm joining  Pause In  Advent ( click here ) to share thoughts about this time of waiting and preparation for Christmas. The word Advent comes from the Latin word "adventus" which means "coming" or "visit". The time before Christmas is called Advent because it is a season of preparation for Christmas. Advent is marked by a spirit of expectation, anticipation, preparation, and longing. Advent candles are lit each week to represent a different aspect of Advent. I love these Scandinavian candles I found.

My daughter, Elissa, and her husband, Jon, are missionaries. Living on the other side of the globe, they aren't able to get together with us as much as we'd like. So when they DO come home for an extended visit, we spend a lot of time preparing for their arrival. Everyone is looking forward to their coming....from parents, to brothers and sisters, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, grandparents, nieces and nephews... on both sides of their families, from Minnesota to Pennsylvania and places in between!  We're all busy preparing for their arrival and there is much excitement! I clean the spare room from top to bottom, put clean sheets on the bed, set out lovely scented candles, make sure there is room in the closet for their clothes, buy their favorite Starbucks coffee, and have their favorite foods on hand. Because we love them, we long to see them and are excited for their return home. We look forward with great anticipation for their arrival.

As important as these children are to me, in Advent, we wait in anticipation  and longing for something even MORE important! We prepare to celebrate the coming of Christ, first in Bethlehem, and then prepare for His second coming in the future.We remember the longing of the Jews for a Messiah. They yearned for a return of God's presence in their midst. And then... HE CAME! We celebrate His birth and  then wait for His second coming.

 But I have to ask myself, "Am I preparing my mind and spirit for Him this Christmas advent?" Is my heart longing, not for the GLITZY part of Christmas, but for my RELATIONSHIP with Him to grow?  Sometimes the glitz and commercialization of Christmas can get in the way and keep me too busy for the much more important part of preparing my heart for Him. Cookie baking, shopping, Christmas parties, decorating, and yes, even blogging about Christmas, can get in the way.  With my daughter and son-in-law coming home I look forward to just spending TIME with them. In the same way, TIME SPENT with God should be more important than the busyness that often comes this time of year.  There is nothing wrong with these activities. They are all good things and help us make wonderful family memories. But I need to make sure that they don't become more important than JESUS...THE REASON FOR THE SEASON.

Below are the words to a song that can be heard on the link here . You can even choose if you want to hear it played by organ, piano, or bells. Wonderful song to begin your Advent season.
                               COME THOU LONG-EXPECTED, JESUS
                                             by Charles Wesley
Come, thou long expected, Jesus
born to set thy people free.
from our fears and sins
release us, let us find
our rest in thee.

Israel's strength and consolation, hope of
all the earth thou art,
dear desire of every nation,
joy of every longing heart.

Please join Floss  for a Pause in Advent to read the thoughts of others during this advent season.

And for a "just-for-fun" internet  interactive advent calender, go to jacquielawson.com !!!

6 comments:

  1. Hi Sandy! It's nice to meet a Pauser that I didn't know before! Yay!
    How wonderful that your daughter and son-in-law are coming home for the holidays! God bless their time with all of you!
    I love your words. Thank you.

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  2. Hello Sandy! It's lovely to 'meet' you! A very important reminder, that despite the family and all the busyness which are lovely, that it is all about Jesus!
    How lovely it must feel when your daughter and her husband return, and all your family! I rarely get all my family together because my parents divorced when I was young, so we have lovely small Christmases. I'd never experienced a large family Christmas until spending it with my fiance up North (and even then, there were about 9 of us!)

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  3. This is a lovely post. Great photo of the family - in Japan, I guess? (I wonder if I'm right.) In church yesterday it was Missions Sunday and a young man born in Cameroon told us about the mission his parents had been involved in, and how it is working now. I loved hearing how the European influence was fading out and the African leaders were now in place. It's so positive that churches and Christians around the world become mature and begin to lead/give, as well as learn/take. I also like what you said about the most important preparation being to take time for Jesus - not just to think ABOUT him but to listen and to grow IN him. I will hold that thought. Thanks so much for taking part in the Pause in Advent.

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  4. We celebrate Advent ,too. It is the most important part of our Christmas.Your post is wonderful & a blessing to read. Merry Christmas!

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  5. The Swedish candle Advent ring is beautiful, and your words are too. They deserve pondering over. Thank you. God bless you.

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