Thanksgiving is over. Today marks the beginning of Advent. Those of you who have read my entries over the past few years, know that this season is hard for me; I don’t enjoy Christmas. I am purposed to enjoy Christmas this year, but not for the commercialism and hype of the season, but to know Christ deeper. As I anticipate Christmas day, and celebrate the advent of Jesus Christ, I will seek Him every day and hope to experience Him in a new and fresh way. I desire to be thankful, not just at thanksgiving, but the whole year through. I need to cultivate a thankful heart; to create a theology of Thanksgiving. Thankfulness does not just appear in our hearts, we must cultivate it, practice it. Though I was raised in liturgical churches, I have never celebrated Advent. I have a couple of wreaths I set out for decoration, but don’t practice the liturgy. This year I want to write my own. This is the purpose behind this Advent journal; to cultivate my own worship, and I pray that it inspires you to do the same.
Thankfulness does not always come easy in the face of hurt, loss, and disappointment. The pain screams to drown out any hope of joy, yet we have the Light of the world and a journey to a manger, to break any threat of darkness. God is so faithful; if you can think of nothing to be thankful for remember that Jesus was beaten and bruised to redeem us because His love for us was too great. He could not even fathom spending an eternity apart from you; He could more easily fathom the Cross. If He does nothing else for me—I am forever awed at this act of love. Thanksgiving may be over, but our thanksgiving to Him should not rest. Advent is the arrival of the Light of World to give us light on our path and to break through the darkness in our lives. Seek for the Holy Child every day until He comes. Cultivate thanksgiving, find joy, feel His peace, and keep your eyes on Jesus—For He is why we celebrate.
When we truly prepare for the coming of Christ, He fills us with Hope; the Hope that He came once and the Hope that He will come again. Prepare for His coming and be ready. The Messiah was the Hope of Israel; and He silently crept into our chronos in the quiet of the night—in the humble surroundings of a stable to humble Jewish parents. His only coronation audience—cows, sheep, donkeys, a few frightened shepherds, and a glorious choir of God’s angelic host. He left the presence of the Father to dwell among us—Immanuel. The first Advent has come, fulfilling all that the Old Covenant promised.
Today begins the Advent season celebrating that fulfilled promise, with the lighting of the first candle—the ‘hope’ or ‘prophecy’ candle. It also represents our hope that He will come again. We hope in His coming, the promise that dripped like honey off the lips of our Savior, His prophetic promise that He will return. He came once; He shall come again.
So let’s enter into this season of Advent with thanksgiving; entering into the courts of the Most High with joy that He promised to redeem us from the moment Adam and Eve fell into sin, and He kept that promise—for He is faithful that promised.
It is good to give thanks to the Lord and to sing praises to Your name, O Most High; To declare your lovingkindness in the morning and Your faithfulness by night. Psalm 92:1-2
Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth. Serve the Lord with gladness; Come before Him with joyful singing. Know that the Lord Himself is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture. Enter His gates with thanksgiving And His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name. For the Lord is good; His lovingkindness is everlasting And His faithfulness to all generations. Psalm 100
To read the entire Advent Journal click here: