What does the word Advent bring to mind? 25 day calendar boxes filled with chocolates or little toys? Lighting special candles? The Final Fantasy VII movie, Advent Children (It's real, Google that that mess)? What you need to know is that Advent is important, hugely important, and it is far more than candles, presents, chocolate and retail nightmare known as Christmas.
Our culture is identity driven.
Advent is the season that celebrates the coming of Messiah, Jesus the Christ, into human history. The celebration traditionally begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas which we celebrate on December the 25th. However, more important than the what, is the Why. Why Advent season?
Our culture is identity driven. Don't feel bad, every culture that has had people in it has been identity driven. Unfortunately our culture finds it's identity in things. Labels, clothes, wealth, status, the cars we drive, the house we live in, our success, and on and on it goes. This mentality has transformed the holiday of Christmas into a consumer-crazed epidemic of stuff gathering, a slight twist to Scrooge's famous quote, it is harvest time for the retailers. That's why Advent is so important. It gives us a chance year by year to redeem the season with a different focus.
The consumer mentality has transformed the holiday of Christmas into a consumer-crazed epidemic.
Advent for us will be centered around Jesus coming into history to redeem it, and the future, for His glory. We will look at the Scripture and history to understand how this season can be redeemed and help shape a different time in our culture. Pastor Matt Chandler at The Village Church in Texas has great resources for this season, and we will be mirroring some of their seasonal philosophies (I am not big on the re-inventing the wheel since Ecclesiastes clearly tells us we can't). Follow the link here to get your mind engaged with where we're heading this Advent season.