We essentially ditched Christmas a few years back. Not because we’re Scrooges, but because it’s just become too commercial. And each year, it became harder and harder for us to find true meaning and spirituality among the holiday trappings. So for several years, we did very little during the holiday period.
Then I started reading about Advent. And found what I’ve come to think of as the missing piece of Christmas.
But before explaining why I think Advent completes Christmas, let me just say that we don’t really celebrate either. I guess you could say that outwardly we hold a simple Christmas celebration. And though we don’t do anything for Advent, we keep it in our hearts.
But we think Advent completes Christmas because it’s an eschatological celebration.
We also think the church struggles and limps along because it’s all but forgotten that God intends it to have an eschatological foundation. “Have a what?” you might wonder! Eschatology is simply the theological study of last things, or end times. A fancy way of saying we believe this life is not all. That more, and the best, is yet to come!
So, what’s that got to do with Advent? Everything! Because Advent, in essence, celebrates that very fact.
Advent, which means coming or arrival, is a double celebration.
It celebrates Christ’s birth, or his first advent. And expectantly awaits his second advent, when he will return again in glory and power.
Did you think Advent was a simply a calendar with doors or boxes to open?
And sometimes with little gifts in the boxes? Just a countdown to Christmas, and yet another gift-receiving focus to the holiday. Don’t get me wrong. Christmas is beautiful, and rich in meaning. And we love it!
But Christmas is not the end of the story!
And if we have it end there, we forget that more, and the best, is yet to come. And that’s an encouraging thought as we travel this wilderness. Aren’t you glad? I wouldn’t want to stay here forever amidst all this pain, suffering, and evil. Would you?
Christmas, with all its modern-day trappings, left us with an empty, dissatisfied feeling. But how exciting to discover Advent which also celebrates Christ’s return. The very thing we most long for!
Advent brings Christmas back around to God and his kingdom. Which, after all, is what it’s really all about, isn’t it?
Would you like to celebrate Advent? Life Way features free Advent Devotionals each week to help you in this wonderful and meaningful celebration! Check them out. They’re simple enough for children, yet profound enough that adults also learn. And they even include a family craft suggestion!
And Happy Advent!