Christmas Advent Day 1: A Season of Preparation
Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. (Jeremiah 23:5, ESV)
But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days. (Micah 5:2, ESV)
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. (Isaiah 7:14, ESV)
I’ve always loved counting down to Christmas. My family usually has a calendar or some sort of box system with little candies to mark the days until Christmas. The five of us would take turns getting to flip the calendar and eat the chocolate inside. My family and I often say that the anticipation of an event is really the best part. I love the month leading up to Christmas Day. It is filled with movie nights, ice skating, good food, present shopping, and so much fun with family and friends. While this countdown may be fun, nothing surpasses the wonder of that first “Christmas.” No amount of anticipation could be as amazing as the actual arrival of the Savior.
How do we prepare for the countdown to Christmas? Spoiler alert: it’s not with Hallmark, although it does make for some nice background noise. For most of the world, this countdown includes checking off their gift list, going to 50 different Christmas parties every weekend, preparing all the food, and getting the house in order. While believers may do the same, there is so much more to the Christmas advent. For us, we are preparing to celebrate the arrival of the Messiah. We remember the Scriptures telling of the Israelite people as they waited with great anticipation and hope for the One who would redeem them from slavery. We reflect on that joyous moment in the little town of Bethlehem when the universe held its breath as the Christ child drew His first.
How do we stay focused on the true meaning of Christmas? As always, the Christmas season is a rush. The year seems to plummet from the second we dump out the last of our Halloween candy, right? The phrase “the Christmas rush” was coined for a reason! So, how do we keep from getting lost in the chaos that the holiday season brings? I think that’s what Advent is all about; it is the choice to take a moment every day to think about Christ, His coming, and His work. Choose a time and a place and be intentional about reading through the Christmas story in Matthew and Luke, or the prophecies of the Old Testament.
We hope you’ll read along with us as we prepare for the coming Savior here at Vine to Branches! There is so much to enjoy about this time of year, but it can lead to something even greater: your salvation. We celebrate the day that the Lord came down to earth to take on human form and sacrifice Himself for us. We think with hope-filled hearts of the day when we will be with Him forever. But until then, we will remember Him every chance we get.