Today is the first Sunday of Advent!
The season of Advent has been celebrated for nearly 2,000 years, and yet it has fallen out of favour in the modern world and in our churches.
Stuck between Halloween and Christmas, Advent is the forgotten season. Perhaps it lacks the commercial power of Christmas or Easter, or simply gets lost in the craziness of end-of-year concerts and parties.
But maybe we’ve lost this tradition for a deeper reason; In the age of busyness, Advent is about stopping and reflecting. In an age of self-sufficiency and self-improvement, Advent says you cannot do it yourself- we must wait for the one who can. In an age of self-convenience, Advent says it's not about you- it’s all about a small baby, wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
Over the next four Sundays why don’t you try and carve out some time to sit and reflect, and to realise just how much you need a saviour, how much this world needs a saviour, and to think about the joy that will come at Christmas.
In the words of Dietrich Bonhoeffer:
The celebration of Advent is possible only to those who are troubled in soul, who know themselves to be poor and imperfect, who look forward to something greater to come. For these, it is enough to wait in humble fear until the Holy One himself comes down to us, God in the child in the manger. God comes. The Lord Jesus comes. Christmas comes. Christians rejoice!