(CNS photo/Lisa A. Johnston)

What a beautiful season Advent is even though it is sandwiched between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  What a great opportunity the season of Advent is for us to grow closer to God and allow Jesus into our hearts even though we start the season with a mentality of being rushed.  Just thinking about all the things we need to get done before Christmas distracts us and leaves us restless in spirit.

We pay a lot of attention to things outside of us: shopping, decorating, baking, sending cards.  Someone was recently lamenting to me the burden of being part of a cookie club where you exchange a dozen cookies with twelve other people.  Why do we put ourselves under such burdens?  Keep it simple is a good rule for Advent.

Advent is not Christmas.  Advent is a time of waiting for the Lord Jesus to be born anew within our hearts.   However, we spend so much time in parties and preparations that we exhaust ourselves by the time Christmas arrives and end up with frayed nerves.

I may be a voice crying in the wilderness but I think it is very important that we reclaim Advent as a time of waiting for the Lord to come.  We wait not for a baby born in a stable under a star on a cold wintry night.  That is a sentiment that we sing about but it is a passing sentiment.  We wait not for a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes but for the Redeemer Jesus Christ: the Holy One of God who lived among us, was one of us, loved us and taught to love.  We wait for the Prince of Peace and the God of hope.

We wait not from nothing to something but from promise to fulfillment.  We wait in faith, trusting that the Lord’s words to us will be fulfilled.  That is why we wait from promise to fulfillment.

How do you personally need Jesus Christ this Christmas?  Is your heart cluttered with anger and resentment?  Then give that over to Christ and ask Him to give you His peace.  He is the Prince of Peace.  Is your spirit trouble by all the disasters  and disappointments in our world?  Then surrendered your fears so you can move from fear to faith and be imbued with the virtue of hope.  Jesus is the God of hope.

Jesus is coming.  He is coming soon.  Are you ready to receive Him?

May the Lord give you peace.

Rev. James M. McNamara