OK, now here is the post from last year
With a very basic groundwork of Advent and Christmas in place, let us begin to look at some implications.
Quite often the holiday season (if I dare type that) is a difficult one for people. Although our culture seeks to trump up a festive and even family focused time – topped off with social gatherings, songs, drinks and oh yes…presents – a variety of things make this season a difficult one. A major difficulty for many during the holiday season is the unfortunate reality of death. Have you ever lost a loved one? Did you miss them the first time the holidays (or any special day) rolled around? Sure you did. In fact, you likely still miss the person even if it has been 20 years, or longer.
So how can a focus on Advent help? It can help because Advent reminds us this world is not our home. This world will pass away and our sojourn here will be revealed as extremely short. There ought to be no denying this world is a mess. Horrific things happen here; people are oppressed and abused, forgotten and ridiculed, even murdered and worse. Yet Advent reminds us none of those occurrences will have the last word.
Let us move back to the reality that the death of loved ones often makes this time of year difficult. Advent reminds us one day there will be no more death (Rev21:4). Advent reminds us our King, Jesus, will one day return and everything will be made new (Rev21:5)! We, along with our deceased loved ones in Christ, will receive resurrection bodies! Indeed, the faithful in Christ on earth will meet the deceased in Christ who are currently with Him, and we all will come back to this refined earth together (cf. 1Thess4:13ff; 2Pet3:8-13). At that point we will then, and forever more be, in the presence of God!!
The truth and focus of Advent helps to take some of the sting out of missing a loved one. Granted, grief is still real and memories will bring a mixture of happiness and sorrow. Yet the neglected Christmas story of Revelation chapter 12 reminds us there is a cosmic battle raging all around us. This battle is over the eternal destiny of humanity. We will not get this message from the commercialization of Christmas in our culture. Quite the contrary, our culture wants to lull us into complacency and put forth comfort after comfort, luxury after luxury, until we are so inundated with them that if we miss one we feel less fortunate and deprived.
While we may still miss loved ones, a focus on Advent – longing for the return of Jesus – tempers this grief. In fact, it gives us hope because one day things will be made right. One day loved ones will be reunited (and the oppressed and abused will be healthy and whole, the forgotten and ridiculed will have God wipe away tears from their eyes as they realize – for the first time perhaps – they have worth and value) – what a glorious day it will be!! The worth of Advent is immeasurable for the Christian community. Indeed, Advent’s worth is immeasurable for all humanity. As we long for the return of Jesus it ought to reorient everything in our lives; one of these areas is the realm of finances.
May you continue to experience a Holy Advent.