It might be a good idea to take a short break from thinking about Thanksgiving. You see, next Sunday is the first Sunday of the Advent Season. So, if you are planning to do an Advent Wreath this year, now would be a good time to build a shopping list. Here are the basics:
- An advent wreath or something to hold five candles
- Three purple candles
- One pink candle
- One white candle
Good luck with finding those specific colors. One Christmas we had three green candles, one red candle and one white candle. And, in my picture below, we had four white candles and one red candle. It all works!! Our “wreath” is not a wreath at all, but an old candle display that came down from John’s grandmother.
So, what is the Advent Season? First, the “advent season” isn’t in the Bible; Jesus didn’t direct it during His sermon on the mount. The word “advent” means “coming” or “appearing.” The season was created as a way for Christians to intentionally prepare for Christmas and to begin preparing for the second coming of Jesus. As we go through the four Sundays this year, I’ll spend some time talking about the meaning of each one.
But, today, let’s think about anticipation.
Humans enjoy anticipating happy things. We enjoy looking forward to events and people that are pleasant. If we are tired or unhappy, our ability to anticipate is decreased. So, if you are having a bad time at work, understand that your favorite pumpkin pie might taste a little “off” this year in spite of the baker’s skills. And, what we have experienced in the past will be a filter through which we anticipate a particular event. Have a lousy sushi experience? Your next decision to order sushi or not will be impacted by that first experience.
Sales people know all about the psychology of anticipation and they use that information to influence our buying. They put pictures of happy people on their brochures and ask us to recall only the most pleasant events in our past. No doubt about it, a smiling kid with a friendly dog eating French fries will get us into McDonald’s faster than will a chart listing calorie counts and fat content.
So, how can we anticipate this Christmas when we have had a variety of past holiday experiences, good and bad, and our work or home situation isn’t perfect?
- First, share advent. Bring joy (not stress) to others.
- Maybe you can laugh about “major fail” of last year. Or, maybe the family isn’t quite ready for that conversation yet.
- Forget about the bad Christmases past.
- Put the Christmas of today into perspective. Lessen the pressure on others.
- And, most importantly, look forward to the Great Advent of the future. As you gaze into the advent candles’ flames, think about a future when the world will be put back into balance, when peace shall reign, when Christ will return. Anticipate a place where all that exists is love.
During this Advent Season, let us anticipate the future as we share love today.
“At that time, people will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. And He will send His angels and gather His elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens.” (Mark 13:26-27)