I love Christmas. Lauren calls my mom Mrs. Claus because of how well she “does Christmas.” It was in that environment that I grew up. Christmas was a very special time for me. Advent, on the other hand, was not really a time that meant anything to me.
I heard the word Advent spoken in church, but always associated it with the coming of Christmas, nothing more. I knew that after our pastor got done doing his Christmas sermon series we would get to Christmas Eve, and then the next morning we would get to open our stockings and presents.
Advent never really became a time of special celebration for me until I went to Seminary. It was there that I learned to love the time of special expectant waiting that we celebrate during Advent. Advent is a time or preparation for us, a time that we prepare ourselves for the coming Christ.
I always knew that the real meaning of Christmas was the coming of Jesus, but it never occurred to me that preparations need to be made before Jesus comes in full measure. It is Advent that we are allowed to take the time to make room in our hearts, homes, and churches for the coming Incarnate Christ. It is God in the flesh of a human being, coming as a baby on Christmas morning that we need to prepare for. Advent allows us to slow down, create space in our busy lives, and prepare for the gift of a baby.
Advent is the most beautiful time of the church, it is the time of remembering that Christ came as a man, in all the frailties of a baby, to meet humanity on humanities terms. He came without pomp and splendor, but as a simple infant. This is the full measure of Love that we experience at Christmas, this is what we wait for and prepare for during Advent. My #ahamoment was realizing that Christmas is more about the Incarnation of Jesus for eternity than just about a baby in a manger–the baby in the manger is still important, but the significance is so much more than just a story.