Friday, November 25, 2016

THE WAITING OF ADVENT by Rebecca Edwards

The season of Advent.
The word “Advent” means an arrival of a notable person or event.  In the Christian tradition, Advent is a season.  An intentional time of waiting, Advent is quiet and dark.  We are getting ready for the Mystery of Christmas.  While the rest of the world seems to celebrate, those observing Advent are waiting for the reason we celebrate.

In our family, we have several Advent traditions.  First, Our church celebrates the first Sunday of Advent with a Hanging of the Green service, where we sing hymns and decorate the church.   The Chrismon (Christ-Monogram) Tree is the focus of our decor, with splashes of blue, purple, and white hanging from tables and walls.

At home, we gradually get our own Advent/ Christmas decor out and around the house.  Our church also helps with this in hosting the annual Advent Dinner Fellowship, which involves a potluck supper and creating a family Advent wreath.   The wreath represents the eternal Love God has for His people.  We light a candle for each of the four Sundays in Advent, one for Hope, Love, Joy, and Peace.  Then, on Christmas Day, The Christ Candle (the big candle in the middle is lit, the life of Christ that has come into the world, pure and spotless.

We live near Baylor University, and every year, during the first week of Advent, we attend the Advent service in the beautiful Armstrong-Browning Library.  It is a lovely night that visually and musically sets our hearts ready for the season.

At home, our family begins Advent devotionals with The Jesse Tree, a journey through the people of Scripture that culminate in the birth of Jesus Christ, based on Isaiah 11:1:

A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse;
from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.

In 2010, I found a wonderful resource online from Ann Voskamp. It was a printable Jesse Tree devotional, complete with ornaments and daily Scripture. (Click here for the devotional.) Other resources are available, too, and it is fun for the children to hang an ornament on the tree each day as we approach Christmas.

As the season goes by, with Christmas events around town, we hold the waiting still.  While school “holiday” parties happen, we remember the “Holy Day” for which we are preparing.

However your family chooses to celebrate this Advent season, what is important to remember is this waiting prepares us for the journey of this Christian life. This waiting in the “not yet” is the daily practice of a Christian.

A note from Charles Kirkpatrick: Rebecca Edwards is a Native-born West Texan transplanted in Waco.  A wife, mother, volunteer, and substitute teacher, her passions include her Christian Faith, her family, her children, and her community.