It's advent, which is a big deal to me, but I realize that the term and even the idea have become increasingly forgotten in our culture. In simple terms, Advent is the weeks leading up to Christmas and is a time of spiritual preparation for the coming of the Christ child.
In worship we spend time reading the stories that lead up to the birth story of Jesus (shepherds, angels, Joseph's dream, traveling to Bethlehem...) and use them to help us get ready to celebrate the coming of the Messiah into the world. These weeks are full of Christmas Carols (many of which are beautiful worship songs that could be sung year round in my opinion), lighting candles each week as we move closer and closer to the center candle (known as the Christ candle) which we light on Christmas Eve and decorating our church for the season.
But Advent isn't just a series of rituals or stories to be told once a year, it is a time of anticipation. God is up to something. God is on the move. Advent reminds us that just like 2,000 years ago when Jesus was born, our God is still alive and active and we need to be prepared for his coming (not just as a baby in a manger but as the Lord of our hearts).
Advent is an advent-ture (corny I know, but true). Advent is about getting ready for God to do something great in us, in our church and in our communities. Are you ready to worship? Are you ready to celebrate? Are you ready for God to move in your life?
Matthew 3:3 quotes from the prophet Isaiah and says "prepare the way for the Lord, make straight the paths for him."
Let's get ready. God is on the move. Advent is here and we will be prepared.