The season of Advent has always been a special time of grace and celebration for Christians. The themes it presents to us are some of our deepest human longings: peace, hope, light in the midst of darkness, the coming of a Savior.
The church offers us a completely different way to spend these weeks before Christmas than the rest of the world:
1. Silence - in contrast to noise. What if each person or family stopped talking, turned off the computer and TV, read a short passage from the Bible or a spiritual book, and then simply spent some time in silent reflection and prayer for 15 minutes a day?
2. Darkness - December is the darkest month of the year. It reminds us of the darkness and cold of the world without Jesus Christ. That is why we like to turn off the lights, light candles, and make Advent wreaths. It would be easy to do that over dinner.
3. Fasting - instead of gluttony. When we don't open that box of candy or abstain from dessert from time to time, we remind ourselves that we have those deep, spiritual hungers that only the Lord Jesus can fill.
4. Wait - in contrast to the hustle and bustle. It is so easy to practice impatience during Advent. It seems that we have to carve out more time than ever. Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could rescue those moments? Starting a friendly conversation with people in line, offering help to someone struggling with their packages, saying a silent prayer for the people around us? After all, the Lord we wait for is already present in the people with whom we wait. And the only purpose of his coming is to fill us with peace and joy!
Rev. Mark Zacker