Advent is the time of year when churches set aside time to reflect on the foretelling of the awaited Messiah Jesus; His actual arrival in the Gospel accounts and the anticipation of His promised return. Sarah writes I am not disciplined and find this hard in a culture of buying ‘shiny’ things and going to ‘tinselly’ events that are great, but often have very little to do with Christmas.
This year I have more time and want to travel through Advent with a more focused attitude, to be more generous towards others in time and prayer, whilst living life to the full as God intended. I settle down most mornings, my best time, and study the Bible with a good set of notes to help, and I am starting to get prepared for this important time of year!
During Advent church will be using ‘Wake up to Advent’, written by the Archbishop of York, John Sentamu. It encourages us in the run up to Christmas to ‘Wake up’ out of compromise and lethargy, and alert to God’s voice; to ‘Clean up’ our spiritual life by doing an MOT on our attitudes and habits; to ‘Feed up’ our faith by reading the Word of God regularly; and ‘Grow up’, to mature in our walk with Jesus.
Psalm 57 says “Awake my soul…. I will awaken the dawn”.
So who awakens the dawn each day? In our garden at the start of a sunny day, the sun comes up, filtering light through the trees and spreads covering everything with clear bright sunshine. Advent is like this, our realisation that the Son of God has come as a baby to shine His light of forgiveness into our brokenness and will come again in Glory, bringing the Hope and Joy that outshines the world’s temporary shiny things.