Dear Friends in Christ:
There is a story about a man whose church set up a nativity set in the front of their sanctuary during the four weeks leading up to Christmas.
The wise men, shepherds, livestock, angels, Joseph, and Mary had all taken their places for the festivities. But as people walked by, they missed one notable character: there was no baby Jesus. The hay-laden manger had an indentation where the infant figurine was supposed to be, but his absence was glaring.
For four consecutive Sundays the man walked past the nativity and looked at the empty feeding trough where he expected to find the Christ-figurine. Then finally, late on Christmas Eve, his family went with so many others to celebrate Jesus’ birth and there he was—right in the miniature manger where everyone had been looking for the past month. Christmas had come. An unexpected result of the Jesus-figurine’s four-week absence from his place in the nativity was that people paid a significantly higher amount of attention to him and his place in that scene than they would have if he’d been there all along.
Why is the Advent Season Important? Daniel Ethan Harris writes, “If I don’t wait on God during Advent, Christmas is much more likely to blow by without taking its effect on me. The Bible repeatedly implores us to wait on God, and Advent is our annual school of waiting. Advent points us back to ancient Israel’s waiting for the Messiah and forward to our waiting for his return—all for the purpose of training us to wait on God in our daily lives now… if I wait four weeks living that way, I will be more capable of genuinely adoring Christ during Christmas.”
In this season of waiting, let us also look at those areas of our lives where we need to allow Christ to help us start over again. This was the reason God allowed His only Son to enter our world and named Him “Emmanuel” — “God with us”— not just during this season of Advent and Christmas but every day. God’s gift to us in Christ is never-ending!
Come and let us adore Him!