What Is Advent All About? - Pastor Andrew Hickman - December 4, 2018

What Is Advent All About?
December 4th, 2018

When I was younger, I never understood what Advent was; seems strange that I’ve grown up in the church and never quite understood what this Christian event is surrounding Christmas. As the years have passed, I never wanted to ask what it meant for the fear of seeming ignorant, stupid, or foolish (Yes, I tend to care about how others perceive me…). So I did the research and tried to find the answers on my own. Now, if you look up the word “advent” in the dictionary you will probably find a definition similar to this one found at www.dictionary.com, “advent: noun the arrival of a notable person, thing, or event.” Dictionary.com continues with definitions for the church celebration of the proper noun: “Advent: the first season of the Christian church year, leading up to Christmas and including the four preceding Sundays…” as well as, “the coming or second coming of Christ.” After doing the research, I felt a little foolish for over thinking the whole idea of Advent, because it boils down to celebrating the gift of God’s Son, in the form of baby Jesus some 2,000+ years ago, as well as, hopeful expectation of the return of Christ. 

However, I was not satisfied with the basic understanding of this season, so I proceeded to continually watch and observe how other Christians celebrate this time of year. I was not looking for how they celebrated Christmas, but how they celebrated Advent. Through my observations I have noticed that a lot of focus is put on reflection of Jesus’ first coming to the earth as a baby boy born in a manger, and not a whole lot is focused on hopeful expectation of Christ’s return.

Before I continue, let me preface by telling you I do not find anything wrong with quiet reflection over things that have already happened, in fact, I myself, find quiet reflections with God one of best ways in which God speaks to me. What if we change the way, we as Christians, celebrated the Advent season? What if we put more emphasis and energy into waiting in hopeful expectation for Christ’s return to this earth? Now, hear me out; we should be celebrating with as much enthusiasm, joy, and excitement the return of Christ as we do the birth of Christ. Shouldn’t we be living and celebrating Advent everyday of our lives in hopeful expectation of Christ’s return? We are charged by the words of Christ to live our lives in such a way that others around us want the joy, hope, and peace that comes from living in a relationship with God. Yet often we quickly forget as soon as the holiday season is over because we go “back to the grind of work” or “back to reality” once Christmas and New Years are over. Believe me this is a difficult task, and I am just a guilty as the next person; because it is so easy to be distracted by our everyday lives that we lose sight of the hope of Christ’s return. 

So through this Advent season, as I think and reflect on the precious gift of Jesus that God blessed us with so many years ago, I am also preparing myself to come out of this season kicking and screaming with hope, joy, and excitement for the second coming of Christ; just like the shepherds who were greeted by angels that night Jesus arrived once they saw Him they believed and began sharing everything they had witnessed (Luke 2:8-20). I want my life to be a reflection of Christ in this world not so I will be remembered, but so others can see Jesus through me and my testimony. 

-          Pastor Andrew