Hello everyone. I hope you all had a Happy Thanksgiving with good food and special times with family and friends. We had a nice one with only part of the family, but it made it quieter and gave us a chance to visit more with each other than other years when everyone was there talking at once. There are pros and cons to both holidays, the crazy, busy ones and the quiet ones. Christmas will be our crazy, busy holiday this year and will be at my house. I will watch and enjoy it and count my blessings as I do the prep for it.
As we move from the season of Thanksgiving into the season of Advent, I decided to do a little research on Advent to remind myself how it started and what it means. When I did my usual “googling” this is what I found: “Advent is a season observed in most Christian denominations as a time of expectant waiting and preparation for both the celebration of the Nativity of Christ at Christmas and the return of Christ at the Second Coming. The exact origin of Advent is not clear, but it is believed to have started sometime after the 4thcentury. Originally, it was a time when converts to Christianity readied themselves for baptism. During the Middle Ages, Advent became associated with preparation for the Second Coming. In early days, Advent lasted from November 11, the feast of St. Martin until Christmas Day. Nowadays, Advent usually begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas Day, which is the Sunday nearest November 30, and ends on Christmas Eve. The Advent wreath, which is a circular garland of evergreen branches, is a popular symbol of Advent. It is usually decorated with four candles, one of which is lit on each of the four Sundays preceding Christmas. The candles represent hope, peace, joy, and love.”
I am sure most of you knew the meaning of Advent, but I didn’t associate the watching and waiting for Jesus’ birth to be the same of waiting for the return of Christ at the Second Coming. It depends on how you think about the “waiting” part. Aren’t we always “waiting” for something from God? Answers to prayers is what comes to my mind that I wait for. I wait for a sign that God is guiding me in the direction He wants me to go. We know the Second Coming is coming, but we don’t know when….. Let’s take one day at time this Advent season and think about the waiting for Our Lord’s birth
When I think of Advent hymns, I start with “Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus”. It was written by Charles Wesly in 1744 based on a popular prayer he found.
“Born Your people to deliver, born a child and yet a King, born to reign in us forever, now Your gracious kingdom bring. By Your own eternal Spirit, rule in all our hearts alone; by Your all-sufficient merit, raise us to Your glorious throne. Amen.”
He adapted this prayer into a hymn and published it in his "Hymns for the Nativity of our Lord" hymnal. He wrote "Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus" with the intent for people to remember Advent and Christmas as remembering the birth of Jesus and preparing for the Second Coming.
As we continue with this busy holiday season, let’s time some time to remember the real meaning that sometimes gets buried under all the craziness…. Let’ start by singing “Come Thou Long Expected Jesus”.