So today was the the first Sunday in advent. But what does that mean, and how does it relate to our everyday lives?
Advent is the season prior to Christmas, where we are awaiting the Advent or Coming of Jesus. Originally Advent was a season of penitence and fasting, but these days it seems to have this emphasis. Nowadays it’s a season of looking forward to that joyful event of celebrating Jesus’ birth.
It’s a time when everything starts to become Christmassy. There are carol concerts, decorations and Christmas trees appear and the Christmas programs start on TV. More and more often however these things begin to happen before Advent and I think that’s a shame. These four weeks are specially and by making the season long, some of that specialness is lost through over-exposure. (see last year’s post When does Christmas start?)
Is there anything in the Bible that could relate to Advent? Well yes, but it’s not just about Jesus’ birth, it’s also about his Second Coming.
In Luke 21:25-36, Jesus talks about us being on our guard and ready for the Coming of the Son of Man:
Be on your guard! Don’t let yourselves become occupied with too much feasting or drinking and with the worries of life, or the Day may suddenly catch you like a trap.
Good News Bible, Luke 21:34-35
From this we can see that the Coming could happen at any time, and probably when we least expect. And we should constantly be preparing for our time with our Lord
But I also think this could have a more down-to-earth application. This season of Advent could be the start of something new for us. Perhaps we should open our eyes to the world around us and look for possible new paths in our lives. We have just seen that Jesus says we should not be too occupied by the worries of life; perhaps there is a new door waiting to be opened that we have just not seen because we are to busy to notice it. It may well have been there for sometime or it could have just appeared in front of us.
So here’s my thought for this Advent season: take your time and have a good look around you. Take note of the opportunities that may be there – new hobbies, new jobs, new relationships. And ask yourself whether God has put that opportunity there for you to take? If you’re unsure, talk to Him about it, after all He does listen to us and give us signs as to what he wants us to do.