Rev. Margaret Minnicks is an ordained Bible teacher. She writes many articles that are Bible lessons.
Fleming Rutledge is an Episcopal priest, preacher, theologian, and author. The 83-year-old well-known priest was one of the first women to be ordained to the priesthood of the Episcopal Church in January 1977.
The priest is so well versed in theology that she teaches other preachers. Rutledge says:
“Advent tells us to look directly into the darkness and name it for what it is.”
Based on that quote, a lot of people have missed the mark and have been preparing during Advent the wrong way.
The late poet Maya Angelou said:
“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”
Perhaps you have been doing the best you can. However, this article will provoke you to do some things differently during the four weeks of Advent leading up to Christmas Day when the first coming of Jesus will be celebrated.
Don't Rush the Time
You have probably heard it said by some people that they will be glad when this year is over. You might have said it yourself. What is going on in the world today might not end when the ball drops in Times Square on New Year's Eve or when you get a 2021 calendar to use for next year. Therefore, rushing time will not make things better.
In fact, we need Advent now more than ever. However, we need to look at it in a different way for our experience to be effective.
Look at Advent Differently
Advent involves two activities:
- Preparation for the Second Coming of Jesus
- Celebration of the First Coming of Jesus
Both activities should be considered. Unfortunately, a lot of people focus only on the celebration of the birth of Jesus and neglect preparing for the Second Coming of Jesus.
The celebration turns out to be more about people than about Jesus. People spend a lot of time and money shopping and accumulating things for themselves, their families, and friends. The preparation should be more about Jesus than about people getting material things and having fun.
Thousands of years ago, people seemed to have waited forever in darkness for Jesus’ first coming. He finally came. Now, we wait in darkness for Jesus’ second coming. It seems like it will never come because it is taking such a long time. However, it will come. We just don't know when. In the meantime, we should wait and prepare during the transition of Advent.
Effective Ways to Prepare for Advent
Advent is more effective when people prepare in the right way with the four themes of the four weeks in mind.
- Week One: Hope
- Week Two: Peace
- Week Three: Joy
- Week Four: Love
Christians should take a deep breath and spend those precious few days looking into the darkness of the world with anticipation of the light to come.
There are dozens of traditional ways to prepare for Advent to get the most out of the four weeks leading up to the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. Some people know about Advent. However, not many use the time to prepare for it spiritually. Instead, they spend their time shopping and accumulating more material things, going to parties, and celebrating rather than meditating, attending Advent services at church, reading scriptures, praying, fasting, and spending personal time with God.
During Advent, we should look back to the dark times of the Bible and wait as the Old Testament people waited for the Messiah who finally came. As we wait for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, we can be assured that He will come.
We need Advent more now because it has been a dark year. It has been one with sickness, death, sin, evil, and violence all around us. For those reasons, we should think of Advent as the transition between this dark year and one of marvelous light.
Advent is a time to think about hope, peace, joy, and love. Therefore, no matter how dark it is in the world, God will send His Son back to earth again when the time is right. God alone knows when that time will be. According to Revelation 22:20, we can pray, "Come, Lord Jesus!" Then we should wait for His return.
Margaret Minnicks (author) from Richmond, VA on December 01, 2020:
Thanks, Brenda, for reading and commenting on my article about Advent. May hope, peace, joy, and love be ever-present with you during these days leading up to the celebration of the birth of Jesus.
BRENDA ARLEDGE from Washington Court House on December 01, 2020:
Great article. People do often tend to forget the real meaning of Christmas.
You are right that we need this now more than ever.
I do not know if I will still be alive when the second coming gets here, but I can imagine it's beauty.
I will be celebrating the birth of Jesus and praying this next year brings us comfort.
Hope, peace, joy and love...these are great. All things he can give to us.