Monday, December 18, 2017

Guest Post: Advent - More Than Just a Stepping Stone

1 Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. 2 Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her hard service has been completed, that her sin has been paid for, that she has received from the LORD’s hand double for all her sins. 3 A voice of one calling: “In the wilderness prepare the way for the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. 4 Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain. 5 And the glory of the LORD will be revealed, and all people will see it together. For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.” – Isaiah 40:1-5

I don’t know about you, but when I think of Advent, I’m briefly reminded of the lighting of some candles in church, and that’s about it. I find myself looking at Advent as a steppingstone to Christmas, in a way. The non-Christian world doesn’t acknowledge Advent as an important event, and that can sometimes rub off on us Christians. It’s just candles and scripture reading in church for a few weeks, and the rest of the time outside of church we can turn all of our attention to everything Christmas related. Right?


While we shouldn’t overlook or forget the miracle of Christmastime, Advent is important, too, and shouldn’t be left in the dust. Advent is a time when we can prepare our hearts for Christmas, not an event that isn’t important or is somehow lesser than Christmas. If anything, it means that it’s incredibly important, because Advent helps us slow down and remember that Christmas is more than just presents and great food.

Jesus came as a baby, but in my mind, I often skip over that part and focus on the festivities instead. Decorating the tree, buying presents, wrapping presents, eating, eating, eating . . . Sometimes we don’t take the time to slow down and really appreciate what we already have, and what Jesus did for us. When we hear the story, we think to ourselves, “Oh . . . this again” and we forget how monumental a thing it really is. Jesus sacrificed his life for us! He was born as a baby, sinless, a child of God and a child of man. Advent gives us the time to appreciate that. To listen to God and to read that story again and realize that, yes, He did that – and it’s amazing!

It’s also a time when we can focus on the fact that, not only did Jesus come once, but He’s coming again! Isn’t that a tremendously encouraging thought? God will come again. We’ll see Him and be overwhelmed by Him. As unworthy as we are, we will be saved by Him all over again – which is another thing that we often overlook. I find that I acknowledge it, but I don’t dig deep into the subject. I don’t think of it as a gift, marvelous and perfect. I tend to think of it as something that will happen, and something that I need to be prepared for, but not something that’s so central to my life that I can’t wait until Jesus returns and I get to see Him with my own eyes.

That’s why I appreciate Advent. That’s why, this year, when they read those verses and light those candles in church, I’m paying close attention and I’m reveling in God’s holiness. Instead of seeing it as just another steppingstone holiday to Christmas, I’m seeing it as the reminder of something great, as an unfathomably wonderful promise.

What about you? Do you tend to overlook Advent and run head-on into Christmas, or do you find it refreshing and easy to slow down and focus on Advent?

Julia Witmer is a fifteen-year-old Christian writer with a passion for all things imaginative and creative. Her creativity usually expresses itself in the form of YA fantasy. When she isn’t typing away at her computer, Julia enjoys devouring the advice of other authors on blogs, listening to music, and nursing her unhealthy obsession with Doctor Who, Sherlock and The Mentalist. Making her home in Chiang Mai, Thailand, she enjoys the advantages of homeschooling and the extra time spent with her parents, siblings, and favorite cat, Layla. Connect with Julia on Pinterest and Facebook, or visit her blog.  


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