The Season of Advent
Delivered By
From Pastor Lee
Delivered On
December 1, 2021
The Season of Advent

Advent is a season which calls attention to our waiting and anticipating the coming of Jesus. Waiting can seem very difficult at times. This seems especially true when considering the world we live in today, a world of instant or quick gratification in meeting our desires or wants. Just think about how the stores began selling Christmas “stuff” before Halloween is barely behind us. Of course, stores and consumer businesses are impatient for a different reason than we as individuals. It is all about making money and being profitable. The effect of this has been that the day after Thanksgiving is like the beginning of a race. I remember a few years ago when stores would begin this race on Thanksgiving Day. I even learned at that time of a new term, “gray Thursday,” which was used in reference to this day before “black Friday” and “cyber-Monday.” It is sad that the season of Advent has little effect upon most people who celebrate Christmas. It is possible that the reason for this is we can become so caught up in the race to find the best deals on gifts or the perfect gift for our loved ones so that instead of this time of year being a time of joyful anticipation, it overwhelms us with stress and worry, not only over gifts but having our homes clean and decorated, not for Jesus, but for family and friends.

In the book, God Is in the Manger: Reflections on Advent and Christmas, Dietrich Bonhoeffer reminds us that Advent is a time of waiting, not racing. For Bonhoeffer, waiting was something he was all too familiar with as he was imprisoned in 1943 for standing up to Adolf Hitler. Bonhoeffer had a great understanding of Advent and waiting as he grew up in a family blessed with so much only later to have it all taken away, living in poverty and in prison. Thus, he could do nothing but wait to be set free, hoping to see one day loved ones again and for the war to end (World War II). In Fact, Bonhoeffer wrote his best friend, Eberhard Bethge, in 1943, “One waits, hopes, and does this, that, or the other--things that are really of no consequence--the door is shut, and can only be opened from the outside.” Sadly, for Bonhoeffer, his prison door never opened for him to know freedom in this life. He was executed by Hitler in April of 1945, just ten days before German forces began to surrender.

Let us not forget that this is a season of waiting, waiting for Christ to come again. Yet as we wait for Jesus’ return, we should look for him, especially as we encounter people. For wherever people come together, Christ is there looking to us to welcome him with loving hospitality. In Revelation 3:21, Jesus says, “Listen! I am standing at the door, knocking; if you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to you and eat with you, and you with me.” We might know how many days it is until Christmas, but do we know how much longer we have until Christ comes? My prayer for all of us is that this season of Advent will be one waiting on Christ versus racing to beat a deadline; that Christmas would be a time of looking for Jesus as we find ourselves among family, friends, and even strangers instead of straining to cross the finish line of gift buying. Hope to see you in church during this Advent season.

Pastor Lee