This is the first week in the season of Advent.
Advent is a fancy word for "coming." And in the four weeks prior to the celebration of the Christmas Christians are encouraged to focus their attention on the coming of Christ -- first as a vulnerable infant 2,000 years ago -- and in the future as the powerful returning king who will wrap up history as we know it.
There is no one right way to "do Advent" and Christians have developed lots of interesting traditions over the years. Some light candles in a special wreath. Some have special devotional readings. (We received in the mail today an Advent booklet written by the members of the Lutheran Church of Guam, a wonderful congregation which Cheryl and I were a part of when we were missionaries in the Western Pacific.)
At our last MasterPiece gathering we made Advent chains together. On each day in this season leading up to Christmas you remove a link from the chain and read the part of the Christmas story printed on it.
Recently many Christians have adopted the transforming emphases of the "Advent Conspiracy" as their own -- worship fully, spend less, give more, love all.
It's all good and helpful! However it is that you approach Advent, just don't turn it into an obligation or another burden during a busy time of the year. Rather let the emphases of Advent release you from the obligations and burdens of a busy season -- and allow the season to refocus your life so that you're on track to become the person that God has called you to be. Christ is coming!
MasterPiece Church -- now forming in Laveen