As the days continue to get shorter and the light is with us for a brief period each day the church calls us to the season of Advent in preparation for the coming of the Christ child at Christmas. Advent is the season that calls us from the darkness and into the light. “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.” Isaiah 9:2
Just as there is a connection between Christmas and Easter, there is a connection between Lent and Advent. The birth and baptism of Jesus is directly connected to his dying and rising. He was born to die. He was baptized to be raised. The harmony between the events is overwhelming.
“Jesus lay as an infant in the cavern in the reign of Caesar Augustus that he might lay in the tomb under Pontius Pilate. He was hounded by Herod that he might be caught by Caiaphas. He was buried in baptism that he might descend into death through the cross. He was worshipped by wise men that the whole of creation might adore him in his triumph over death.” (Thomas Hopko, The Winter Pascha)
This connection between the two festive times of the year is the reason that Christians celebrate not only Christmas but Advent and we shortchange that if we skip over it and move right to the birth. Just as we cannot have Easter without Good Friday, we cannot have Christmas without Advent.
The season of Advent calls us to slow down at a time when the world is calling us to speed up. The season of Advent is calling us to a time of preparation, not just of our homes for the festivities surrounding Christ’s birth, but our spiritual homes for Jesus comes not only to our homes but to our hearts. Jesus is calling each of us out of the dark winter and into the light and warmth of his love for each of us and the world.
As you prepare for the coming season, I urge you to take time to slow down, just a little, and make room for Jesus in your life. Spend time with his word and in prayer and prepare for the message to come announcing his birth and then we can sing Joy to the World.