Slow down; It's time for Advent
Advent is a season of four weeks including four Sundays. Advent derives from the Latin adventus, which means "coming." The season proclaims the coming of the Christ - whose birth we prepare to celebrate once again, who comes continually in Word and Spirit, and whose return in final victory we anticipate.
So begins the "Book of Worship" discourse on Advent and the various suggestions of ways we can celebrate this season. So in many of the congregations throughout Holston Conference, we are celebrating the season of Advent.
I will never forget my discussion with one of the lay leaders of St. Mary's Road United Methodist Church in Columbus, Ga., where I served as pastor. She was a choir member and wanted to sing Christmas carols and not Advent hymns. I sat down with the choir to explain what Advent is and why I believe the season is so important in the life of the church.
The choir and I struck a compromise. We decided to use a lay liturgist to explain Advent to the church, and the choir could sing Christmas carols one Sunday prior to Christmas. I ended our discussion by asking this question: "Do you believe that, without rehearsal, your choir would be able to put forth your very best on Sunday morning?"
Of course, they all responded with a hearty "No."
So I said to them, "Then, you do understand the importance of preparation?"
Advent serves as a constant reminder to me of the importance of preparation. It also reminds me of how important humanity is to our creator. God took the time to prepare his people for the savior's birth. Preparation time so often is shortchanged because we are in a hurry to get to the main event. But if God understands and also employs the use of preparation time, I believe we should do likewise.
This year, don't rush through Advent at such a hurried pace that you miss this wonderful time of preparation and anticipation of the coming birth of Jesus.