I had the honor of being involved in the writing of the Advent devotional to supplement and accompany this message series. I decided that I would post the readings here also. I will post each week's late on Saturday night. If you would like to hear the messages that prompted these writings, please go to www.xroadschurch.org. You can download the pod cast. The first message is this weekend.
Adventus. Latin for arrival, coming. Advent is traditionally a time when the church has celebrated the birth of Jesus. This season begins on the 4th Sunday before Christmas day and ends on Christmas Eve.
In the beginning during medieval times, Advent was similar to Lent. It was a time of fasting and penance, but through the years the season became associated with joy and anticipation.
As with all traditions and religious seasons, Advent has endured some secularization. Crossroads longs to give you tools to ReThink Advent and Christmas. ReThinking Christmas is not a feeling, but a choice and an attitude. We want to be reminded of Advent’s intention and purpose: to point with joy to Jesus and his arrival.
Many traditions have been tied to Advent and Christmas. They are intricately woven together, and the weaving is as complicated in origin and purpose as a Celtic knot. Colored candles, numbered ornaments, daily calendars have been used to count the days until Christmas with eagerness and anticipation. Often what was meant to point us toward Jesus, toward the arrival of God’s Son, is now merely a way to count the days of shopping and the accumulation and receiving of gifts.
Advent is a season to celebrate and commemorate Jesus’ first arrival. And it also points our eyes toward and prepares us for his return—his second coming. Christ-followers anticipate and expect his second coming. We have been assured He will arrive again.
Heavenly Father, in this hectic season let us be still enough to hear the holy hush. Let our vision be cleared in order that we can see past the ornamentation of the holiday. Enable us to contemplate your purpose and your plan for your people. Let us absorb the reality that you became flesh and lived among us. You did this so that we might know who and what you are. You wanted us to know. You still want us to know. May this devotional be an aid and a tool that will lead us to worship more, spend less, give more, and love all. And may you use it to encourage us to expect, prepare, examine, and hope in your son, Jesus.
Amen and amen.