Thanksgiving, gratitude to God for all that we are, all that we have, all that we are to become—Thanksgiving in our country ushers in Advent, the celebration of the birth of our savior, Jesus Christ, in this world. Advent is the season of waiting, of anticipation, of knowing the gift that is to be celebrated—the birth of Jesus. In our churches we set aside a month to celebrate, to anticipate Jesus’s birth every year. Advent is a remembrance of our gratitude to God for the gift of Jesus.
Jesus, the baby, comes in as cute as He can be, with all the promises of His creation as yet unknown, but by the age of 12, (Luke 2:41-52). He is already listening to the voice of God over the expectations of His parents. By the time He is baptized, He is ready to begin His ministry as God has shown Him. Then, we begin to see, through the Biblical records, what kind of person God has created for our needs, our ways of living, our ways of worshipping the Lord of all.
Born into poverty, like a gift wrapped in plain paper, Jesus becomes over time for us the healer and the One who shows us how to live and to die. He faces all kinds of temptations, all kinds of criticism during his sojourn on earth, and then He faces an awful death on the cross. His devotion to God throughout all the challenges of His life, His painful death on the cross, are all healed through His death and resurrection, just as all our suffering will be healed as we acknowledge the death of the old ways of thinking and being and welcome in the new in our lives. Death is never the end of the story, just the end of the old and the beginning of new life.
Jesus’s manger birth echoes in our own lives the gifts and blessings and purpose and fulfillment, plus all the challenges, that His presence will gift us with throughout our lives if we will only follow Him wherever He would lead us. Advent is all about what is coming and our anticipation of it. It’s not only about Jesus’s birth, but about what He is birthing in us today and every day, if we will dedicate our lives to Him.
So, Advent is not just celebrating an historical event, but acknowledging that Jesus is leading and healing and transforming us today and every day. Let us anticipate His birth, but also celebrate what He is birthing in us right now. Watch and prepare to give up any objections or fears about what He might have in store for us. Learn to embrace whatever comes, seeking only to see what it requires of us and to follow His lead.
- I am giving away a 10-week journaling guide to Jesus’s Two Great Commandments. If you are interested, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send it to you, free of charge.
- My latest book, Called to Help the Poor and Needy, is now in bookstores and on line. It’s about the more than 2,000 verses in the Bible which detail God’s instructions for caring for those in need.
Questions to ponder over the week: How do I celebrate Advent, the birth of Jesus? And am I aware of what Christ is now birthing in me? What in me needs to go? And what is coming in to replace the old?
Blessing for the week: May we be the people of God who are so attuned to the birth of Jesus long ago and to His presence in our lives right now, as well as what He is now subtracting from and adding to our lives.
See more blog posts and offerings at patsaidadams.com.
Check out my other website, deepeningyourfaith.com, for information about spiritual practices and more writings about the spiritual life. New posts every month. 10.18.21’s is entitled “Grounding Ourselves in Jesus Christ.” Sign up to receive these as monthly emails at the website.