It is Christmas season, and this is a time of year when, to be completely honest, I feel conflicted. I love certain parts about this season: fun lights, decorating our family's (real) tree, holiday food, Christmas music and movies, getting extra time off from work, and of course the real reason for celebrating, remembering the birth of Jesus. But sometimes I really feel like Charlie Brown; the over-commercialization of the season frustrates me and almost makes me depressed. I'm not against giving gifts, or buying decorations, but it seems like people take a time of year that is suppose to celebrate Peace on Earth, and instead make it super stressful and anything but peaceful. There was a time a few years ago when I seriously wondered if anyone even remembered why we celebrate Christmas anymore. But then, I went to church the first Sunday of December and we talked about Advent. Suddenly, I didn't feel so cynical and I felt like I had a reason to celebrate the holiday again.
The definition of Advent is "The arrival of a notable person, thing, or event". In the Christian world, we use it to refer to a time of anticipation. It is marked not only as a reminder of the anticipation of Christ's birth and first coming but also of our anticipation of his second coming. That second part is the part that I think we forget about when we celebrate Christmas. Yes, Christmas is about celebrating Christ's birth, his first coming. That event is important for a lot of reasons: it was God fulfilling His promise of a Savior, Jesus taught us how we were to live our lives, and ultimately, because he had to come in order to die for us, to save us from our sins. But sometimes I think we lose how powerful it really was. The Jewish people were waiting for a savior for so long. It was a huge deal that He was finally here! Simeon waited for the day when he would finally get to see the Christ and when it happened, he praised God, saying that now he could die in peace. Two thousand years later, we don't really know what that feels like. Except, we live in the already, not yet. Christ has come, but His kingdom is not fully realized. He is still coming again. This world, in all its brokenness and pain is not as good as it gets. There is such hope in that, but sometimes it seems like we will be waiting forever. This is the anticipation that Simeon felt! This is what God's people were waiting for. We wait for the second coming, just as they were waiting for the first.
This is why I prefer to celebrate Advent, and not just Christmas. When I find myself getting cynical about the crowds, and the money spent, and the business, and everything else about this time of year that stresses me out, I remember that Christ not only came and conquered death and sin, He's coming again. He is coming to establish His Kingdom once and for all. We may not know when, but we know He is because He promised it and He keeps His promises; Christmas is proof of that.
Happy Advent, I pray the reminder that Jesus came, and that He is coming again, fills you with peace this season.
Christ-Follower. Writer. Caffeine-addict.