The word advent means ‘coming’ and, when used in the Church, refers to the coming of Jesus. Advent begins four Sundays before Christmas and lasts until Christmas Eve. The season of Advent is one of preparation for the coming of Jesus. It has a three part meaning. First it refers to the coming of the baby Jesus’ birth at Bethlehem. Second, it is about the coming to us in the bread and wine of the Eucharist and the waters of Baptism and in the words of the Bible. Finally it refers to his coming again. In the words of the Book of Common Prayer Jesus was, is and ever shall be.
God faithfully journeys with us
During Advent the readings reflect our human story. It is an honest exploration of our humanity, not only the stories of humanity at its best, but also the dark and shameful stories. When it comes to humanity there really is nothing new under the sun. Greed, ambition, selfishness live alongside compassion, selfless giving, courage. There is one constant, not only in our human story, but in our personal stories and that is that God faithfully journeys with us. There is nothing that we can do, that will drive God away. We may choose to ignore God, we may turn our back on God so often that it becomes difficult for us to recognize God, but God remains ever faithful. Beginning in Genesis (the first book of the Bible) humanity’s relationship with God is considered in an unfolding history. Our Advent journey happens in the telling of these stories, until we reach the culmination of our journey at the manger in Bethlehem where God comes to live among us.
The Jesse Tree is a perfect way to journey faithfully with God
I like to think that we have two celebrations that happen at this time of year, the celebration of Santa Claus with shopping and gift giving and the celebration of the birth of Christ, Christmas. The Santa Claus Advent calendar has elves, candy canes. toys and chocolate. The Christmas Advent calendar tells our Christian story with the symbols of our faith. The Jesse Tree is a perfect way to journey faithfully with God and with all the saints and sinners that have journeyed ahead of us. I promise you that if you put as much time and effort into your Christmas Advent as you do in your Santa Claus advent, your Christmas will be enriched in ways that you cannot imagine.
This Wednesday, Nov. 13th at 5pm, is Messy Church and our theme is “Advent.” It a gathering geared for families. Dinner is provided.