Sunday, November 27, 2016
The angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. For nothing will be impossible with God.” Luke 1:35, 37
The word advent comes from the Latin adventus, which means coming. Advent is the four weeks prior to Christmas when we as Christians anticipate the coming of Christ. The gospel of John (7:42) tells us that the Jews expected the Messiah to be born in the town of Bethlehem and to be from David’s family. Both Mary and Joseph were from the line of David.
When the Roman governor ordered the population to return to their hometowns for a census, Joseph and the pregnant Mary made the three day journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem. This would not be a comfortable trip when nearing the end of a pregnancy. Nor was giving birth in a stable. I have to remind myself that over and above these difficult physical complications, there was rejoicing and wonder with the angels singing “Glory to God in the highest!” Surely the census order was part of God’s plan for Jesus to be born in Bethlehem, for as scripture tells us, nothing is impossible with God.
In today’s world it is so easy to be distracted by the beautiful trees and other decorations in stores, in our neighborhoods and in our homes. The danger is that we will forget the spiritual lesson in Advent— the anticipation of the coming of Christ. I have learned over time that there must be a balance between spirituality and the pressures of the holiday. Focusing on spirituality during the four weeks of Advent can keep me pursuing the anticipation of his coming. Regular worship, scripture, and, of course, prayer all help me to focus on the coming of Christ. And I can be sure that the balance will happen because nothing is impossible with God.
Prayer: Gracious Heavenly Father, I pray for your presence in my heart and in my mind during this Advent anticipation of our Lord’s coming. Please touch me with your power to enhance the spirituality of these special days. Amen.