Have you ever been driving home in the evening and glanced at a house you pass, noticing the warm light shining through the window? Have you thought, like I have, “I wonder what they are doing tonight? It looks so inviting in that room!” We’ve probably all experienced that wonder before. Chances are, the people living in that house are doing the same thing you and I do when we get home from work or an evening meeting. We kick off our shoes, make and eat dinner and settle in. Maybe we get the kids in the bath and in bed. Maybe we check email or Instagram or throw in a load of laundry. If we have time, we watch a movie on Netflix or read a few chapters of a good book (if we can stay awake!) We have that in common. We spend our evenings doing what most other people in our neighborhood or apartment buildings are doing. We live a common life.
At Fellowship, we also live a common life. We have in common the habit of getting up on Sunday mornings and making our way to church. We worship, listen to the sermon, drink coffee together and head home for a Sabbath afternoon. We have our faith in common. We share the belief that Jesus really is who He said He was, and that He will do what He says He will do. Together and as individuals we believe and trust in God our Savior.
Although our life is common, it is not mundane. It is not ordinary, although it may seem so at times. In reality, we live an uncommon life in that God’s Spirit lives in us. In 2 Corinthians 6:16 Paul writes to the believers, “And God has said, ‘I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.’” We live with the Spirit of the Living God dwelling in us. That’s certainly not ordinary! When I take time to simmer on that truth, I am blown away by the fact that God uses ordinary people to accomplish HIS unordinary deeds!
What is "Advent" celebration all about?
I think it's a common misconception that "Advent" is just another word for "Christmas", and that celebrating one is the same as celebrating the other. Certainly as we celebrate this season we need to keep the focus wholly on Christ, and work against the culture of consumerism, or at the very least, against the watering down of the real reason for celebration. And that is a part of both of these words, but "Advent" takes on a further significance with perhaps a longer perspective of what the season means to us today.
In looking for a good definition of what Advent celebration is all about, I stumbled on an article which I think perfectly sums up its significance:
"Advent symbolizes the present situation of the church in these “last days” (Acts 2:17, Hebrews 1:2), as God’s people wait for the return of Christ in glory to consummate his eternal kingdom. The church is in a similar situation to Israel at the end of the Old Testament: in exile, waiting and hoping in prayerful expectation for the coming of the Messiah. Israel looked back to God’s past gracious actions on their behalf in leading them out of Egypt in the Exodus, and on this basis, they called for God once again to act for them. In the same way, the church, during Advent, looks back upon Christ’s coming in celebration while at the same time looking forward in eager anticipation to the coming of Christ’s kingdom when he returns for his people. In this light, the Advent hymn “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” perfectly represents the church’s cry during the Advent season:
O come, O come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appears.
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.
While Israel would have sung the song in expectation of Christ’s first coming, the church now sings the song in commemoration of that first coming and in expectation of the second coming in the future."
Excerpt from Christianity.com. Read more here.
What was to celebrate are available?