Thursday, January 7, 2016
A belated Advent devotion
Disclaimer: You guys, I don't even know what happened here...This is a devotion I wrote and shared in chapel here at The Frankfort Christian Academy before Christmas break. I meant to post this a month ago. I didn't. So, here it is now. No judgement, okay?
Scripture: John 1: 1-13
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
Growing up, my family and my church didn’t celebrate Advent. It just wasn’t a part of our Christmas tradition. I had heard the term but didn’t know what it was until I was a young married adult. From the first Sunday the folks at our new church lit the wreath and shared the liturgy, I was hooked. I loved the beauty and ceremony and most of all the symbolism of it. My husband and I decided that we would be intentional about crafting an Advent tradition for our children.
When my children seemed old enough to understand and participate in the candle lighting and devotional reading, I made a wreath and bought the candles. I used the unity candle from my wedding for the Christ candle that goes in the center. For several years, we tried weekly Advent readings with very little success. Squirmy little boys don’t like to sit still and listen to someone read a story that doesn’t involve trains or superheroes or talking animals. I usually ended up more frustrated than hopefully expectant, but, we persisted, and every year it got a little better.
This year, my daughter is 11 and my sons are 9, and I feel like it is the first year that we’ve had a productive and meaningful Advent season. Aside from minor skirmishes about who gets to the light the candles and who got to read the longer passage, they have been very excited to participate in this season of expectation. We have lit our candles and talked about the meaning of each- Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love, and how, like the candle’s flame, Christ is the light that shines in the darkness. We know that the light from the candles doesn’t just light up our home, but it symbolizes the hope that we hold for Christ’s coming.
I have learned as much or more during this particular Advent season as my children have. My biggest take away this year is that we have a choice. Yes, our world is pretty dark. We could stumble along like so many do. Instead, we choose to let Christ light our way. We choose to share the light of Christ with others so they don’t have to stumble and stagger alone in the dark. It is my prayer this Advent season that you are all preparing the way for the coming of the Savior, and that you allow His light to dwell in you now and all year long.