Happy New Year! According to the Christian calendar, the first day of Advent is also the first day of the new year.
This year, most of us are happy to see 2020 go and pray 2021 brings a sense of fresh hope and new beginnings as we leave behind a year fraught with tension, strife and fear.
Not so fast for me, though, as this really is “my favorite time of the year.”
The Latin word for Advent is adventus, which means coming. In this season we are offered an invitation to rest and reflect as we prepare our hearts for the coming of Jesus. We look forward to the celebration of His first coming along with the anticipation of His second.
The invitation is to step out of the frenzied pace of December and tip-toe into a place where we can sit a few minutes, quiet our souls and listen to our longings. We were made for more. We long for our hearts to be filled with His peace. We long for the day we see Jesus face-to-face. We, indeed, were made for more.
As we anticipate the celebration of the joyful, yet humble birth of our Savior, may we prepare our hearts for new birth as we invite Jesus to do a new work in our lives. As Dietrich Bonhoeffer reminds us, “The celebration of Advent is possible only to those who are troubled in soul, who know themselves to be poor and imperfect, and who look forward to something greater to come.”
During this season, as we begin a new year, may we recognize our dire need for a Savior. And may our hearts be drawn to this time of longing, to the invitation of a still small voice Who gently whispers His great love to us, through the birth of a newborn and the coming of a King.
Emmanuel. God with us.
And they shall call his name Emmanuel, (which means, “God with us”). ~Matthew 1:23