During Thanksgiving holiday, our family of six took the time to prepare for the Christmas rush by
- giving thanks
- hitting the brakes, i.e., full stop to breathe
- catching-up around the house.
- not pulling out any of the Advent/Christmas boxes from the attic (and we still haven’t). Gasp!
But on Sunday, we began a simple practice of Advent with devotions, song, and testimony. The focus of our daily Advent dinner devotions is how God the Father worked through (and at times counter) to His people in preparation for the coming of His Son Jesus the Messiah/Christ AND a sharing of daily praises/concerns.
I invite you to join me for an Emerging Scholars Network Advent table where we’ll likewise feed upon some Advent devotions, readings, reflections, and Scriptures. Please consider this a place not only to share comments, prayers, and reflections on the material provided, but also a place for you to share devotions, readings, reflections, and Scriptures through which God is speaking to you this Advent. Be alert. May God give you eyes to see His Presence and work not only in, but also around you each step of the Way.
[The message of Advent] is for us to be alert, vigilant and industrious, so that his coming will not be a terror but an overwhelming joy.
According to the old saying, familiarity breeds contempt. Of course this is not always true! In particular, it is often not true of people with whom we are familiar. Indeed, with the best of friends, the more we know them, the more we grow to love and respect them. It is only the people who are superficial and at heart unreal who let us down when we grow familiar with them. It is then that our previous admiration can turn to contempt. …
The particular danger which faces us as Christmas approaches is unlikely to be contempt for the sacred season, but nevertheless our familiarity with it may produce in us a kind of indifference. The true wonder and mystery may leave us unmoved; familiarity may easily blind us to the shining fact that lies at the heart of Christmastide. We are all aware of the commercialization of Christmas; we can hardly help being involved in the frantic business of buying and sending gifts and cards. We shall without doubt enjoy the carols, the decorations, the feasting and jollification, the presents, the parties, the dancing and the general atmosphere of goodwill that almost magically permeates the days of Christmas. But we may not always see clearly that so much decoration and celebration has been heaped upon the festival that the historic fact upon which all the rejoicing is founded has been almost smothered out of existence. …
We shall be celebrating no beautiful myth, no lovely piece of traditional folklore, but a solemn fact. God has been here once historically, but, as millions will testify, he will come again with the same silence and the same humility into any human heart ready to receive him. — J.B. Phillips (1906-1982, British Bible Translator). “The Christian Year,” from Good News: Thoughts on God and Man. New York, NY: The Macmillian Co., 1963. Quoted in Watch for the Light: Readings for Advent and Christmas. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2007, p.20-24.
Father forgive me for the ways which I have become indifferent to you, your mission, and your people. Grant me the grace to be wholly yours, “head, heart, and hands,” and to enter the new Christian year with joyful expectancy for the work of your Kingdom.
More Resources for Advent: As Mike mentioned in Repost: Bobby Gross: Living the Christian Year, I have written about Advent and practicing a Christ-Centered Christmas. In addition, I have been blessed by and encourage others (including you) to take time to visit Christine Sine’s Godspace series on Advent and the Advent Conspiracy. Note: My 2010 Godspace post is Second Wednesday of Advent – A Family “Advent”-ure by Thomas Grosh. For ESN’s developing Advent collection click here.
About the author:
Tom enjoys daily conversations regarding living out the Biblical Story with his wife Theresa and their four girls, around the block, at Elizabethtown Brethren in Christ Church (where he teaches adult electives and co-leads a small group), among healthcare professionals as the Northeast Regional Director for the Christian Medical & Dental Associations (CMDA), and in higher ed as a volunteer with the Emerging Scholars Network (ESN). For a number of years, the Christian Medical Society / CMDA at Penn State College of Medicine was the hub of his ministry with CMDA. Note: Tom served with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship / USA for 20+ years, including 6+ years as the Associate Director of ESN. He has written for the ESN blog from its launch in August 2008. He has studied Biology (B.S.), Higher Education (M.A.), Spiritual Direction (Certificate), Spiritual Formation (M.A.R.), Ministry to Emerging Generations (D.Min.). To God be the glory!
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