The season of Advent is here. The beginning of the liturgical callendar, a time of preparation for the second season — Christmas.
But for many people, Christmas is December 25 only. There are others who will jump over the moon to prove that December 25 could not possibly be the date of the Messiah’s birth. All this has its merit but we continue to miss the point, or to be cliche — the reason for the season.
We are at Advent, the preparation for the coming of the Messiah. But what do we do during this period? It is here that I want to zero in on the Christian. This is our time, when we remind the world about the wonderful story of not only the birth of Jesus Christ, but the birth of our salvation.
For the average Joe that might not mean anything, but for the Christian this is an excited time when we wait with baited breath the coming of the King and Redeemer — the one who can forgive all sins and ensure eternal life.
Unfortunately, many Christians miss this wonderful opportunity and are bogged down with the cares of the world and become trapped in the materialism that now accompanies Christmas.
This is not a bashing on the commercialism of Christmas, because quite frankly I love it. The rushing around, the carols, the really contagious, positive attitude people seem to adopt — I love it.
Yes, the season is becoming more and more commercial and I have no problem with that. Commerce drives us. If we all decided to keep our money this Christmas and not buy ham or gifts or anything, come January many people would be without a job and Ronnie Clarke surely would come with a classic about Chris Sinckler.
So buy the gift, shop, shop shop; pump some money into our economy.
But do something with your soul.
Despite all the shopping and working late hours, remind yourself what Christmas is about.
This is where I have the problem, where Christians become one sided, where the church holds back until midnight on Christmas Eve to rings its bells.
Let the bells peel out loud and clear from December 1 and remind the world that the saviour is coming. Get excited about it, make this message contagious as well.
This bring me to another issue.
On December 25, we drift into the euphoric notion of a baby being born.
Let us not miss the boat or any of the ships that come sailing in. Christmas is a commemoration of the birth of the Messiah. Advent, the season we are currently “celebrating” is about preparing for the coming of the Messiah.
This is where good old common sense comes in. We are awaiting the second coming of Christ, we therefore need to prepare not with new curtains and furniture or food and drink, but with lives lived out in a manner that is pleasing to God. So when the Messiah we talk about comes again, not when December 25 rolls around again, we will be found ready to meet him.