Today is the First Sunday in Advent. Let me repeat that: the First Sunday in Advent. That’s right, I said: Advent.
I feel the need to repeat that because most people want to jump directly from Thanksgiving to Christmas. Yet Christmas actually beings – well – on Christmas Day. (That is when we start celebrating “the twelve days of Christmas.”) The period before that – the period we begin today is Advent.
And Advent matters. It is an important period of preparation for the coming of Christ as Christmas. A time of reflection, of penitence, and of preparation.
Instead of rushing right into Christmas, how about spending some time asking ourselves: What will I do during this Advent to give reality to the rule of Immanuel? How will I commit myself – in Advent and every day – to my part in making manifest God’s Kingdom.
I offer to you this Advent Prayer by Henri Nouwen:
Jesus, Master of both the light and the darkness, send your Holy Spirit upon our preparations for Christmas.
We who have so much to do seek quiet spaces to hear your voice each day.
We who are anxious over many things look forward to your coming among us.
We who are blessed in so many ways long for the complete joy of your kingdom.
We whose hearts are heavy seek the joy of your presence.
We are your people, walking in darkness, yet seeking the light.
To you we say, “Come Lord Jesus!”
P.S. Instead of walking around singing Christmas carols, how about a few rousing verses of “O Come, O Come Emmanuel”?