As I sit here at Grace United Methodist Church in North Augusta, South Carolina, the realization of why we have this great waiting period of Advent comes vividly to mind. The beauty and majesty of the coming Christmas Day is a striking contrast to the subdued setting of Advent.
Advent = Waiting
Advent is not entirely a time of penance. While we should take some time to reflect on our shortcomings and work to make amends, this season is more about hopeful anticipation. We wait with baited breath the coming of the Christ-child. It is a great time to take inventory of those things we would like to change so that when we greet the newborn King of Kings, we can do so with hearts and minds ready.
This is also a good time of year to remember all those who helped form us into the people we are today. Some of those people taught us by their actions how not to act, or how not to treat people. In addition, some taught us the greatest lessons in how to be more like Christ by their word and deed. This time of year is a good time to thank all those people for making us who we are today. Without their influence, we would not be here today and we would not be the people we are.
As we wait and watch, we should also consider our own actions and relationships with others. Are we helping to make them better people in positive ways? Or do we treat the in ways no one would want to be treated? We have a chance in this Advent to learn from our mistakes. And we need to resolve to not make those same mistakes with others.
With this done, we are one more step closer to welcoming the Christ-Child into our world!