It is with great joy that Christians begin this wonderful season of advent. Advent comes from a Latin word which simply means “coming”. And during this season many Christians around the globe and across the pages of history are centering prayers, thoughts and scripture readings on the coming of Christ. But we do not merely glory in the wonderful past concerning the coming of God in the flesh at Bethlehem. We also glory in that same Christ who will come again on the last day to judge both the living and the dead.
So in an effort to help impact our Santa-saturated culture with a Christ-saturated vision of life, I led our adult Sunday school class this morning through a brief defense of the celebration of Christmas. My notes can be downloaded here (ss-class-on-defense-of-christmas.pdf).
Also, Christmas time is a time when our culture actually appreciates traditions rather than being addicted to the novel and the disgustingly popular. People love to dust things off and remember this time of year. I look at some of the Christmas ornaments my parents put on their tree year after year and chuckle. I see an ornament that I made when I was little (a green cardboard star with one square of red tissue paper glued to it) and think that looks so out of place amidst all the glamour and glow of the tree. But it is the little boy behind that ugly ornament and the memories of his childhood that keeps Mom and Dad bringing it back out. As I am trying to raise my own three children and as I seek to guide my own family into forming our own traditions and holiday patterns, I ask myself, “How do direct my children’s memories and love of remembering toward Christ?” So in a way of getting started somewhere, over the last three years I have been developing a liturgy to use in our family worship. My work-in-progress can be downloaded here (family-advent-service.pdf). Our practice is to use this liturgy the four days before Christmas and on Christmas day itself, but feel free to adapt and use it to suit the desires of your own household. But above all things, this advent season, may the coming of the Christ child be preeminent in you hearts and His return in glory always be before your eyes of faith.