by Pastor Jeffrey Horn
How many times have you heard the saying, “Jesus is the reason for the Season!”?
If you are reading this, very likely you agree with that.
But do you ever find that when you get to Christmas Eve, in your heart you know that Christmas wasn’t about Jesus — because so many other things had filled your life in the weeks that led up to it?
Why we have Advent
You aren’t alone. In fact, you are facing a challenge that Christians before you have wrestled with for centuries.
One of the best answers that The Church found for slowing everything down and returning the focus back to Christ was to observe the season of Advent during the four weeks before Christmas.
Advent is a season that is focused on Jesus. It is all about Christ.
During Advent, there are simple traditions you can embrace that help you make time to hear God’s word so that through it, the hope and peace of Christ is yours.
Have You Ever Heard of Advent?
Maybe the season of Advent is new to you. Maybe it has been a long time since you have observed it. But either way, this is a good year to learn about it and join in again. After all, this has been a difficult year in so many ways. If there has ever been a year where we have needed the hope and peace of Christ, it is this Christmas.
So what makes Advent so special? It is this: Advent is a time to remember that you are waiting for Jesus.
Waiting is not something that we generally like to do, even though we do it all the time. But there are exceptions. When we are waiting for something good that had been promised to us, then waiting can be beautiful.
Advent is a time to remember that you are waiting for Jesus.
During Advent, we wait for Christ.
We wait for Christ in faith. We remember all of the believers in the Old Testament who waited for the promised Christ to be born:
- We remember Abraham, who believed God’s promise of the Messiah when all seemed hopeless.
- We remember David, who sang the psalms proclaiming the Messiah would come.
- We remember the countless brothers and sisters who trusted God would send Jesus, who waited in faith. And their faith was proved true!
Jesus was born, just as God promised. He is a blessing to you and to all nations.
We wait for Christ in faith
We wait for Christ in faith. In order to do that, we need to remember what God has said in His Word. That means taking time to listen to Him.
Advent is a time where special services are held at Church to hear the basic teachings of the faith and be built up in the truth.
When we hear Him, we remember Him.
Generation upon generation of believers who went before us found the strength to keep waiting for Jesus by hearing the Word. It worked for them, and it works for us.
Not every congregation holds these special Advent services anymore. But Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Escondido still does, and you are welcome to attend. They are not long, but they are beautiful and will help strengthen your faith in Christ.
We wait for Christ in love
We wait for Christ in love. For God has loved us in Jesus. Remember?
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”(John 3:16-17 ESV)
This love that God gives in His Son, Jesus Christ, is not just something that was given a long time ago. It is a love that is given to you now as He comes to you in His Word to forgive your sins and bless you.
Waiting for Christ in love helps us remember that we are not passive as we wait. As Christ loves us, so we love one another.
We love the believers with whom we gather to worship. We love our families with the love of Christ. And Advent is a time to share with others, the mercy which we first received from God. To care for the poor, the hungry, the elderly, the lonely.
Waiting for Christ in love helps us remember that we are not passive as we wait. As Christ loves us, so we love one another.”
We wait for Christ in hope
We wait for Christ in hope. Jesus will come again and take us home. We have confidence that He will give us eternal life. Hope makes all the difference.
Imagine two men walking down two roads in town. One sits down to rest on a random curb because he is weary. He can sit there as long as he likes, but eventually, he will have to get on his feet and keep going.
The other man stops at a bus stop and waits. He knows that eventually a ride will come and take him forward. He waits in hope.
We wait for Christ in hope. We know He will come as He promised. The language of hope is encouragement — we encourage others in Christ with the hope that we have inside us through faith.
That is why it is so important to gather regularly with other believers to worship.
As Christians, we are people of hope. Throughout the Bible, believers have gathered together to encourage one another in hope. Too often in our day, Christians neglect this community, to their own harm.
Advent is a time to gather together again. To wait for Christ.
We wait for His return on the Last Day
We wait for His return on the Last Day. Like the believers in the Old Testament waited for Christ to be born, we also wait for Christ to return. This kind of hope is powerful.
Remembering that He will come helps us focus on what truly matters in life.
During Advent, we wait in hope that though things are hard, or scary, or lonely, that one day it won’t be like this anymore. He will bring us home.
You Are Welcome to Wait with Us This Advent
If you are interested in a congregation of Christians who observe Advent, you are welcome to contact Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Escondido.
If you want to talk with me to learn more about Christ and how you can join us to wait for Christ in Advent, please share your contact info.
We will have special Advent services on Wednesday and Saturday through Advent. They are beautiful, peaceful, and Christ-centered (and not too long).
If you are looking for a simple oasis of hope as Christmas approaches, this is a good place for you.
We are a congregation that focuses on Christ.
We gather to hear His word and wait for Him in faith, hope, and love.
You are welcome here.