Advent

 

By Silar (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

For a few years in my later childhood, I attended German school on Saturdays. Linguistically, it was not particularly successful in teaching me the language of my father and grandparents, however what did stick was the carols we sung.  One began like this:

Alle jahre wieder,                                                                                                                          kommt das Christuskind,                                                                                                           Auf die Erde nieder,                                                                                                                      Wo wir Menschen sind.

 Every year again                                                                                                                          Comes the Christ Child                                                                                                                Down to earth                                                                                                                            Where we humans are.

In parts of Europe, the Christ-child comes quite literally, a kind of Santaclaus, bearing gifts for children. In a less mythical way, Christ brings us the best gifts, hope and peace in our hearts as we celebrate Advent, His coming to earth.

Every now and again, amidst the distracted chaos of our lives and the particular rowdiness of our family, we attempt to celebrate the tradition of Advent. This year, I bought some candles and put them on a tray. My daughter found a small wreath to put around one of them.  We’ve lit them a few times now and read a prophetic verse from the Old Testament in contemplation of the season.

At his first Advent, Jesus came in innocence as a child, the fulfillment of a promise, bringing hope to a hopeless world. In the future another Advent will take place, and like other Christians I look forward to this glorious appearing when He arrives as King, in victory.

            Standing in the way of all that is Christmas present, a whirlwind of pageants, shopping and social obligations. Personally I find it exhausting, even when I try to simplify and I wonder where the joy went that is supposed to be the heart of the season.

But between the shepherds of old and the sounding trumpets of the last day there is another Advent. Invisible and silent.  Another carol, Thou Didst Leave Thy Throne, expresses it best. “Oh come to my heart Lord Jesus, there is room in my heart for thee.” At this Advent season, let us invite his presence into our harried lives.  May His peace and grace flow like a river over our inadequacies and failures. May His light shine in our hearts at Christmas and every day.

The Christ-child returns, make room for him.

Image: By Silar (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

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