Advent is about looking toward the light in so many ways. The sun’s light starts to grow stronger and longer at the winter solstice, as our hearts warm, too, to the coming of the light of Christ into our lives at Christmas. “The people who walked in darkness,” we are reminded, “have seen a great light.”
We celebrate that light through our Sunday liturgies in Advent, and through our daily prayer. From the Advent Conspiracy:
It starts with Jesus. It ends with Jesus. This is the holistic approach God had in mind for Christmas. It’s a season where we are called to put down our burdens and lift a song up to our God. It’s a season where love wins, peace reigns, and a king is celebrated with each breath. It’s the party of the year. Entering the story of advent means entering this season with an overwhelming passion to worship Jesus to the fullest.
When you’re anticipating something exciting—a birthday, say, or the visit of a beloved friend or relative, or maybe some big sports event—then that anticipation fills your heart. You want to talk about it to everyone around you, don’t you? Every conversation seems to bring it a little closer, make it feel a little more real. You’re constantly doing little things to prepare. Getting ready for something joyful is half the fun!
Just as you feel a need to chat to everyone around you about the approach of a desired event, the same thing applies to the coming of Our Lord. You want to chat about it, to stay in the moment of preparing for the happiness ahead, to feel it coming closer.
When you chat to God, it’s called prayer.
Advent prayers don’t need to be rote or tedious. They can be as spontaneous as the joy that you feel as you think about the coming of the Christ Child. This is the story of God’s love for his people, of God reaching out to humanity and becoming incarnate as a gift to us. Other religions are about humanity reaching toward God; Christianity is about God reaching toward humanity. Doesn’t that thought make you want to respond? To sing? To laugh? To dance?
That, too, is prayer.
This is a good time to relive the story, the wonderful extraordinary story of the birth of Christ. Mary, young and innocent, newly engaged, and visited by an angel who tells her something that most people wouldn’t believe, much less welcome… and her beautiful acceptance: “Be it unto me, according to your word.” The long journey at the worst possible time, all the way down a dusty road to Bethlehemwith nothing waiting at the end but government red tape, and door after door closing in the young couple’s faces. The stable—have you ever spent time in a stable? Is it where you’d choose for a child to be born?
And the birth, the star, the shepherds, the angels, all of it so very improbable and so very perfect. Doesn’t it amaze you to think about it? Don’t you want to talk with God about this story, to express gratitude that he created such an amazing backdrop to his gift of his own son to humanity?
When you think about it, prayer is the only response. Prayer is our Advent song, a song of longing, a song of gratitude, a song of joy.
Remember to download our free Put Jesus First: Advent & Christmas Planning Guide filled with even more ideas for putting Jesus first.