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Tradition In Advent

Tradition brings us feelings of comfort and joy.

Tradition connects us with people that we love, through memories of the past and hopes for the future.

God uses the tradition of feasts to encourage the Israelites to remember what God has done for them in the past, and as a foretaste of future hope and glory through the promised Messiah. Each of the commanded feasts is a tradition full of meaning, meant to enhance the lives of the celebrants and to give glory to God.

Advent plays up on that in a big way. Advent means “coming.” Christians celebrate the coming of Christ at Christmas time through the nativity. Like the wise men, we give gifts (even though we may not do that as wisely.)  We sing songs that reflect the precious wonder of the season – God becoming man – God with us!

Advent also looks forward to the coming return of Christ. In these tumultuous days, this is a welcome thought. We know that Christ will rule the world in love and righteousness. How we long for that!

Yet…Christ rules in love and righteousness right now in every believer’s heart. But, I would have to say that I don’t always experience the peace and joy of that. And my confession to you is that I am finding it increasingly difficult to find Christ in Christmas. You see, the comfort and joy of tradition has overridden my worship of the Christ Child and coming Redeemer King.

I do love the season of Christmas decorating, gift giving, visiting, meals shared with family and friends, cookies, Christmas carols, snow, twinkling lights, glowing candles, “chestnuts roasting on an open fire”, and everything else that has become traditional at this time of year. While I am not willing to completely boycott this season of celebration, I want to find room in the “inn of my heart” for Jesus.

Faith In Advent

As I have considered this, I’ve realized that a focus on Advent would be helpful to tune my heart to the message of Christ-having-come and Christ-returning. Advent has not been a huge tradition in my life except as candy calendars and candle wreaths – neither of these touching my heart in a real way.

And it is my heart that truly needs to be opened to the real wonder of of the season. Last Christmas I wrote a Christmas letter post “Jesus, Light of the World” on my other blog “Two Canadians in Australia.” I shared my desire to find meaning and spiritual sustenance in Advent. This year at “In Light of This” I am embarking on an Advent journey of daily devotionals designed to stir into flames the love and worship of this Come-and-Coming Savior of the world. In the days before Christmas, I will look to see Him in that day and in this season, with the hope and expectation that in doing this my heart will open in true worship and celebration of Jesus.

I feel a sense of urgency about this as well. Earlier this year (2015) I heard a prophetic word that was centered on the parable of the bridesmaids found in Matthew 25. The bridesmaids are chosen members of the bridal party but 5 of them are foolishly unprepared for the coming of the groom (Jesus). When the shout goes out, “Look, the bridegroom is coming! Come out and meet him,” they find themselves shut out of the marriage feast because of their lack of preparation and expectation. This impacted me deeply and set me on this journey for “a stronger faith and a deeper love” that I have been sharing with you on this blog. This Advent journey is part of my “preparation and expectation” and I want to share it with you.

In Light of This

Please join me on this Advent journey to prepare a place in my heart/our hearts for Jesus. This is a journey best shared.

gift iconA Gift to You from Me

In appreciation of the ones who journey with me, I am compiling these Advent reflections into a downloadable e-book titled “Two Trees – Advent Reflections on Tradition and Faith.” These beautiful e-books will be available in January 2016 to all subscribers. These can be treasured and contemplated each Advent season.

I would also like to give away a special published photobook edition of “Two Trees – Advent Reflections on Tradition and Faith” to one of my co-journeyers. (Well, I actually would like to give a book to everyone, but I don’t think that it will be feasible.) The name of each subscriber to “In Light of This” will have their name entered at the end of December to receive this gift. Please watch for additional opportunities to enter this special giveaway.

But this is not to detract from the real gift which is the heartfelt prayer that each of us will be like one of the wise bridesmaids who are prepared and awaiting the return of the bridegroom. Let’s be united in our prayer that each day God will open our hearts in expectation and preparation.

“Lord, open our hearts to the wonderment that Mary had as she looked at the God-man that she bore. Revive our hearts with all the wonder and hope of knowing that Jesus the Messiah has already died and risen to bring us eternal life and that one day we will fully celebrate without the need of bobbles, toys and trinkets. We will know complete joy!”

Yes! Jesus has come.

Yes! He is coming again!”